Pro Kabaddi League: Puneri Paltan makes strong statement in Patna
A team which looked down and out in the first three matches delivered a contrast in performance in the Patna leg of the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) Season 7, defeating the home team, Patna Pirates, by a big margin.
Paltan’s next win on this leg showed nerves of steel to overcome the Gujarat Fortunegiants.
No one expected the team to score a 21-point victory against Patna, but the Pune visitors stunned the three-time champions with a solid all-round display.
The highlight of the performance was Pune’s outfit forcing an ‘all out’ twice on Patna. It turned out to be very strong performance from raider as they notched 19 points, while the defence earned 17 points.
Chief architects of the victory – Amit Kumar, all-rounder and Pankaj Mohite, raider. The duo are playing their first PKL season and collected 17 points between them.
Mohite came on as substitute and dominated thereafter.
“I entered in the 27th minute when Pardeep had just scored a super raid. Manjeet’s ankle hold further pinned Pardeep down. Manjeet had also scored a raid point, and we had a lead of 9 points. The only thing that was going on in my mind was to maintain that lead for my team. I put my best foot forward and contributed 100 per cent. Anup sir had told me to focus on the game and not take any pressure,” said Mohite.
Cross head: Grudge game against Gujarat
Pune got ‘all out’ in the 16th minute. The score was 15-9 in favour of Gujarat, but then, Pune’s defence delivered its best performance of the season so far. Led by vice-captain Girish Ernak, the team managed to force an ‘all out’ on Gujarat in the 22nd minute.
In last few minutes, coach Anup Kumar called for a play on the third raid and it the team managed to secure first PKL win over the Gujarat Fortunegiants. Ever.
Eranak scored six points while he got good support from Pawan Kadian and Amit Kumar who also scored six points each.
Shital Marne Jadhav, coach, Shivalee Krida Mandal, Pune
Pune won two matches, but I am still not impressed with the way defence is performing. Girish Ernak is doing a good job, but he is not getting support from other end. I feel Maharashtra players – Pankaj Mohite, Sushant Sail and Sahaji Jadhav - are playing under pressure. I have seen them playing in state and district championships; they play with a lot of freedom, but in PKL they have very different body language.
From the coach’s couch
After Patna Pirates match:
Today, the team delivered on the mat and they showed what they are capable of. Team worked hard and it has given us the results.
On Pankaj Mohite: He was outstanding. It is good that he stood out today. We need a raider like him when our main raider Nitin Tomar is out due to injury.
After Gujarat Fortunegiants match:
It was a very successful leg for us. The team got into the rhythm which was very important. Team played with lot of confidence and I don’t think in coming game we will have any problems with team combination. We took a bit of time to settle, but now everything is looking good.
On Nitin Tomar: He will be back in action for the Ahmedabad leg.
Know your team:
Meet Manjeet who is an impact player for Puneri Paltan
Twenty-three-year old Manjeet kis a key player in the absence of Nitin Tomar. The young raider who was part of the Patna Pirates in Season 6 has the “running hand” touch as his signature move. Meet him.
From Patna to Pune. Good?
Patna has very good players and playing with them helped me improve. I learnt a lot of things from Pardeep Narwal and I executed it on the mat. Now, Pune this season; First three matches were very tough for us. I am trying to give my best for the team in every match
Coach Anup Kumar?
I am blessed that he is raider, so it helps me to learn a lot. I have used a few of his tricks.
Our team have very good junior and senior raiders. We get to learn from senior raiders and my favourite is Darshan Kadian.
How Nitin Tomar’s presence will help in the Ahmedabad Leg?
Morale of the team will increase once he returns. Playing with experienced raiders teaches you a lot and it will help our team alot.
Name: Manjeet (Kabaddi players from Haryana go only by one name)
Birth place: Sonipat, Haryana
Previous team: Patna Pirates
Points for Puneri Paltan in 5 matches: 22 points