Tamil Thalaivas kept themselves in the hunt for a play-off spot on Tuesday after taking down Gujarat Fortunegiants in a thriller in New Delhi. Their recent victories will give the Chennai team plenty of confidence after performing unsatisfactorily in the first half of the league stage.

Speaking to the media following a 35-34 win, captain Ajay Thakur said the victory against Zone A leaders Fortunegiants was especially sweet given their strong defensive combination. “It is very difficult to get points against Gujarat. The team has a strong defence and their corners even play together in tournaments like the Asian Games and World Cup. Coming into this game, we knew we had to play carefully and that’s what our strategy was.”

Thalaivas coach K Baskaran, meanwhile, was all praise for their captain who won them the game with his closing two-point effort just as he had done against Bengal Warriors a couple of days ago. “The credit for today’s win goes to Ajay,” he said before adding, “I told my team if we keep fighting till the end then we can make a match of it.”

Baskaran also opined that the aggression Gujarat showed in the match worked against them. “In the last 3 minutes I took a time-out because I realised what their strategy was. They were pushing hard to win under any circumstances and we took advantage of that,” said Baskaran.

However, Gujarat coach Manpreet Singh dismissed that notion. “We played well for 35 minutes but they outplayed us in the last 5 minutes,” said Manpreet, “The match went the distance and we lost because of the small mistakes we made towards the end.”

Manpreet also defended the team’s Iranian corners saying one cannot expect the same players to fire in every match. “They are being targeted by the other teams. They both [Fazel Atrachali and Abozar Mighani] are our strength. All the teams feel that Gujarat’s defence is strong because of which our raiders are able to perform freely. Our strategies were well executed in the first half but in the closing minutes our plans didn’t work. We have six more matches to be played and we will do our homework in those remaining matches,” concluded Manpreet.