A clinical performance in raiding and defence gave Bengaluru Bulls a 41-30 win over Jaipur Pink Panthers at the Thyagaraj Sports Complex in Delhi on Monday. Captain Rohit Kumar scored a Super 10 for Bengaluru Bulls, while three of their defenders finished with High 5s. At the post-match press conference, Rohit, Pawan ‘Hi-Flyer’ Sehrawat, Mahender Singh and coach Randhir Singh Sehrawat took questions for Bengaluru Bulls, while coach Srinivas Reddy and skipper Deepak Hooda turned up for Jaipur Pink Panthers. Some excerpts are below.
Q. Coach, thoughts on the defence?
Randhir Singh: Yesterday, before half time, our defence was even better than it was today. However, after halftime we let the match slip. Today I was very stern with the players and told them that Pawan Sehrawat cannot shoulder the entire team’s burden alone. I had complete faith that Rohit Kumar would come good, and he did. Jaipur Pink Panthers have a number of quality raiders and I knew that we could only win today, if the defence played well.
Q. Rohit, did you feel any pressure coming into this match?
Rohit Kumar: I didn’t really feel pressure as such because ups and downs keep coming in a player’s career. I was not going through a good phase earlier. The coach told me to be patient. There were several people who were questioning my ability to do well but the coach told me that my time will come. Today, as soon as we entered the mat, the coach told me to go and perform; it’s my time. As soon as I heard that I felt confident. I’ve been trying since the last few games, but I kept getting caught. The coach told me not to force it. So, I said I will listen to him whole-heartedly and only get in the game once he instructs me to. That happened today and the team won. To play such a good game against Jaipur Pink Panthers, who are a table-topping team, will do our confidence a world of good and we expect to do well in our home leg as well now.
Jaipur Pink Panthers
Q. Coach, do you think the team is going through a bad spell right now?
Srinivas Reddy: This is not the case for our team alone. If you see the results of other teams as well, some of them are winning consistently before facing a roadblock and some are coming back after losing on the trot. That is the beauty of this league. Bengaluru Bulls played really well with an aggressive defence initially. We had planned for Pawan Sehrawat and were able to stop him but, unfortunately, their other raider (Rohit Kumar) played well. But more than anything else, their defence played brilliantly today because of which they got an early lead and did not allow us to come back.
Q. Deepak, where do you think the team was lacking?
Deepak Hooda: I believe this is a failing of our raiding unit, including myself. Even I was not able to play well. If the skipper is not leading from the front, then how will the team’s confidence rise? So, I take responsibility for this loss.
Q. Coach, do you think the team is over-reliant on senior players like Deepak Hooda and Amit Hooda?
Srinivas Reddy: These are the strike players of the team. So, it is important for them to perform. But sometimes players have off days and sometimes they aren’t able to perform. The rest of the players we have given a chance to also delivered but at some points, they came under pressure and conceded multiple points. If the raiders aren’t able to score initially then the defence also comes under pressure in the match.