Puneri Paltan managed a brilliant second-half rally to secure a 35-33 win against Haryana Steelers at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune on Wednesday. At the post-match press conference, Puneri Paltan were represented by coach Ashan Kumar, captain Girish Maruti Ernak and Sandeep Narwal while Haryana Steelers were represented by coach Rambir Singh Khokhar, raider Vikash Khandola and assistant coach Surender Nada.
Q. You overcame a big first-half deficit to win the game. Thoughts on the game?
Ashan Kumar: This was the result of the hard work from the players. I told the players that I have complete faith in them. If they played the game at the level they are all capable of, then I was sure that we would win. I just told them that they have to focus and play their natural game. That is what they did and ultimately it resulted in our victory.
Q. Do you think your raiding in the second-half really turned the game around?
Sandeep Narwal: My entire team, including the coach and the captain, have complete faith in me. When there was a big score difference at halftime, all the coach said was that they have played well till half-time, now it is our turn to play better. Even I felt that if they can do it then so can we after halftime. We showed some great teamwork and hence we were able to win this match.
Q. Your team put in an all-round effort to rally from behind in the game. How important do you think teamwork is at such a time?
Girish Maruti Ernak: We have always played as a team and will continue to do so. One or two players cannot carry the burden of the entire team. Everyone has to perform for the team to do well. We follow exactly what the coach tells us and that is what we did after halftime.
Q. You had a lead in the first half. What happened in the second half?
Rambir Singh Khokhar: We had a sizeable lead at halftime and played well for six to seven minutes after that as well. But then I feel that we weren’t able to keep up in either offence or defence. Our defence was outstanding in the first half but did not play so well in the second.
Q. What did you tell the team when they were giving away points?
Rambir Singh Khokhar: The coach can only do so much in this scenario, after a point it is up to the team. The three points we gave away in a single raid in the second-half really turned the game around.
Q. Did you think you were under a lot of pressure in the second half?
Vikash Khandola: We had decided to play on the third raid in the second half but our defence kept leaking points. Those mistakes then put pressure on the raiders who also went on the back foot.