Gujarat Fortunegiants made it three wins from three in their home leg at The Arena in Ahmedabad on Sunday after a 27-20 victory over Jaipur Pink Panthers. Sachin starred for the Fortunegiants in attack yet again with seven points and was well-supported by his corners Abozar Mighani and Fazel Atrachali, who accounted for four tackle points each.
The Fortunegiants currently occupy top spot in Zone A and it has come on the back of their three match-winning streak, which is something their coach Manpreet Singh is proud of. “The three matches we have played in the home leg, we have played very well. We have won all the three matches. We even played very well in the first two legs in Hyderabad and Nagpur. There, the home teams were not able to win three straight matches. We showed that it can be done, that successive matches can be won, if you plan well and come up with a good strategy,” Manpreet told reporters at the post-match press conference.
Pink Panthers coach Balwan Singh, however, rued mistakes made by his team on the night but seemed optimistic about their ability to improve and bounce back. “It's a sport. Mistakes happen in sports. It's a part of the game. We must have made some mistakes, that's why it's a loss… There are many more matches left. We have played only three so far. We'll improve going ahead,” he said.
Meanwhile, the first match of the night ended in a thrilling 27-27 draw between double defending champions Patna Pirates and U.P. Yoddha. The Yoddha seemed to be on course for the win but a late burst by Pardeep Narwal ensured Patna remained the only team undefeated this season.
Commenting on the Yoddha’s strategy to keep Pardeep quiet up until late in the match and restrict him to nine points, Patna coach Ram Mehar Singh said: “I have said this before as well that no team can make a strategy for Pardeep. When he plays slow then only he gets tackled. We also made strategies for their raiders as well and we saw that Mahesh Goud got more points for them [than the raiders Patna made strategies for]. Every team makes strategies and they get successful sometimes and unsuccessful sometimes, so we can’t say this was a strategy. Pardeep played really slow today but still the team played well and Monu Goyat played really well.”
On the other hand, Yoddha coach J Udaya Kumar sounded a bit disappointed to have let the Pirates off the hook. “I think in the last five minutes we made mistakes and it was our fault [that it’s a draw]. If Rajesh [Narwal] wouldn’t have stepped out of the line then we would have won because we had a two-point lead,” he said.