An outstanding effort in the second half handed Haryana Steelers a win over reigning champions Patna Pirates by a scoreline of 43-32 on Sunday. In the post-match press conference, coach Rambir Singh Khokhar, Vikash Khandola and assistant coach Surender Nada took questions for Haryana Steelers while Patna Pirates were represented by coach Ram Mehar Singh and captain Pardeep Narwal.
Q: What was different for your team today?
Rambir Singh Khokar: I believe we were excellent in defence against Dabang Delhi K.C. and Gujarat Fortunegiants earlier. We adopted similar tactics today and reaped results. We have a lot of young players in the squad and they adapt quickly. Everything just clicked today.
Q: Did you relish the opportunity to captain today?
Vikash Khandola: Yes. I'm very pleased. The coach has a lot of confidence in me and my abilities and he worked very hard with us in training. He strategised this match to perfection and we are very pleased with the result. Surender Nada's words of encouragement also helped me a lot.
Q: The defence was outstanding today. What are your thoughts on that?
Surender Nada: Our strategy was to force Pardeep Narwal wide and I think that worked for us. We told Corners Sunil and Kuldeep Singh that, for us to win, it is essential that you need to stay on the mat. If they are in the game and our outstanding offence clicks, it would mean we are in control of the game. That worked for us.
Q: How confident are you going into the next game?
Rambir Singh Khokar: We played as a team and that is very encouraging. The boys were excited since yesterday and they delivered today. Playing against the champions and beating them is a real morale boost of us. The way Vikash Khandola managed the team with authority, is really commendable. Surender Nada's mere presence is a bonus for us. The way Kuldeep is filling in on the mat is unbelievable. I'm very pleased.
Q: You have lost two successive home games. Where do you think you were lacking?
Ram Mehar Singh: We had 3-4 opportunities to complete a Super Tackle, but we didn’t even make use of one. We had opportunities to get them All-Out but our defence didn’t capitalise on those either. We went for some advanced tackles when we could have played on the defensive.
Q: What are your feelings on becoming the highest raid points scorer in VIVO Pro Kabaddi history?
Pardeep Narwal: I feel very proud. I couldn’t get the one point I required yesterday which would not only help me equal Rahul Chaudhari at 700 points but also get the team a tie in yesterday’s game. I wish I could have done it yesterday but I’m glad I got it in today’s game.
Q: Do you think you raided very deep today, and hence got tackled quite a lot?
Pardeep Narwal: Yes, we made a few errors as a team today. These will not be repeated in the future though and we will come up with a much-improved performance against Telugu Titans. The personal battle with Rahul Chaudhari will add more spice to the encounter and I’m looking forward to it.