Not very often does one see Bengaluru Bulls’ mainstay raiders, Pawan Kumar Sehrawat and Rohit Kumar, have a bad day at the office together in the Pro Kabaddi League. Either of the two usually puts his foot on the gas and sometimes single-handedly wins the game for his side.
However, last night against Puneri Paltan at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium was a rare occurrence as Bengaluru Bulls succumbed to a 23-31 defeat to bottom-placed Puneri Paltan.
“We had a tough match today. We were level in the first half but lost it in the last second half,” skipper Rohit Kumar told Sportstar . “They (Puneri Pultan) played much better than our expectations. Pune’s defense was really strong in the previous match and in the second half, we tried too hard to score points but ended up getting tackled very often. This enabled them to take the lead,”he added.
Rohit admitted that Pune strategised well against his side, which didn’t give it any opportunity to score points. “We knew that after getting the lead, they would play on the do-or-die raids sequence and take their time because we needed points but didn’t have enough time.”
“The plan was to put in quick raids, take bonuses and try to reduce the difference as much as possible. To take care of that, they brought on specialist left corners and seconds because they know that Pawan and I win a lot of bonus points. That’s why right cover and corner were long, so that they could lure us deep and then tackle, which is why we didn’t try a lot for the bonuses either.”
Sehrawat became the first player to cross the 100 raid points mark this season, but he shrugged it off saying it doesn’t matter if the team doesn’t win. When asked about his performance on the night, the league’s leading raider stated that Pune did its homework, came out with all guns blazing, and didn’t allow him to play his natural game.
“They were very proactive on the mat and very offensive. We were forced to play defensive which isn’t our strength. I don’t usually put empty raids, but I did that today. So, clearly, we weren’t at our best today.”
Sehrawat has stunned everyone with his defensive capabilities in season seven. With nine tackle points, including four in a single game against Telugu Titans, he has been touted as an upcoming all-rounder.
“Now, I am only focusing on raiding as paying unnecessary attention to defence is not good for my game. One unsuccessful tackle and I have to sit out for a long time. I am raider for the team and if I sit out, Rohit bhai is then left with more responsibility.”
Despite the defeat, the captain doesn’t view it as a worrying sign. On being asked if this loss has dented the team’s confidence, he laughed it off saying it is part and parcel of the game. “It’s just that we had a close loss. We don’t think a lot and our focus is on the upcoming matches,” he concluded.
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