It was an action-packed Day 4 of the Haryana leg at the Motilal Nehru School of Sports in Sonepat on Tuesday as Bengal Warriors edged Telugu Titans 32-31 in the first match of the evening, while the second game saw Haryana Steelers get back to winning ways courtesy of a hard-fought 27-24 victory over Dabang Delhi K.C.
Bengal trailed Hyderabad for the majority of the contest but ended the game strongly and won the encounter in the last raid of match. Speaking to the media after the match Bengal skipper Surjeet Singh credited his side’s raiders for the second-half comeback. “The match was very tight and close. We won the match in the last raid of the match [by Jang Kun Lee]. The big mistake was that we gave [Nilesh Salunke] a four-point super raid but we recovered. In the first half, Maninder [Singh] didn’t perform but in the second half both our raiders [Lee and Maninder] performed and we won the match,” Surjeet said.
Elaborating on the Warriors’ form this season, which sees them currently perched at the summit of Zone B, he added: “I will give the entire credit to our coach [Jagdish Kumble] because at the time of our practice camp, he gave us very good practice and told us about our mistakes and how we should improve them. He is the reason why the team is performing well.”
Hyderabad coach Naveen Kumar, on the other hand, admitted his side’s chances of making the qualifiers are now dangling by a thread. “We lost today and we have lost many matches earlier as well. If we lose even one match from here, then it will be difficult for us to be there in the qualifiers.”
Meanwhile, the main talking point from the second match was Wazir Singh’s magnificent five-point super raid. Steelers coach Rambir Singh Khokhar labelled Wazir’s raid as the best from his team this season. “From the 13 matches so far, this was the best raid of them all! Because it broke the opposition's back. They all piled on him and the pressure of those defenders on him let his hand squeeze out onto the mat and over the line (laughs). Wazir is our most experienced player, and that shows,” he said.
Skipper Surender Nada was also full of praise for the star raider. “It's not like everyone gets a five-point raid. If you are good, then you could get one. And what happens with these kind of raids is that it builds up a huge lead and puts the opposition under pressure and the defence also gets weakened. That one five-point raid gave us an eight-point lead and an All-Out soon,” Nada said.