Haryana Steelers are having a dream run in the tournament as this has been their 6th win in the last 7 games of the tournament. The team defeated Gujarat Fortunegiants with a score-line of 41-25 as they clinched an easy win at the Thyagaraj Sports Complex in Delhi. Steelers had a successful Delhi leg as they have won both the matches comfortably. Thereby, climbing up the points table at no. 3 position. Coach Mandar Shetty was all praises for his players as he told sportzcraazy -“Everyone played well in today’s match. Although in the starting our defense committed a few mistakes but the players were quick enough to correct them. Today our raiders were very good as they scored some good points, especially Prashanth Rai scored some blazing raid points. “
He was happy as the team climbed to no. 3 position and wished his team to continue their dominance in the remaining matches. Raiders gave the momentum to the team for yet another time in the tournament. Vikash Khandola was the top scorer for his team as he scored 8 points. Raiders Prashanth and Vinay gave him a solitary support as they scored 8 and 7 points respectively. Ravi Kumar impressed with his tackling skills as he raked in 6 points.
Captain Dharmaraj Cheralathan was satisfied with the team’s performance as he was not shy in giving the credits to his players.
“Today was a good day for the team as all the players played very well. Defenders did a good tackle. Ravi made some good tackles as he was stepping forward throughout the game to take the lead of a responsible defender as he knew it was his day. And the raiding trio of Vikash, Prashanth and Vinay played exceptionally well and supported the team to always stay ahead in the game. Everyone played well today and it was good for the team after all,” captain Dharmaraj said.
During the second half of the game, Vikash Khandola, who was the top scorer of the night could have scored his 5th Super 10s this season was made to sit outside. Later, coach clarified that in order to give other players some exposure Vikash himself decided to stand out as he thinks more for the team than his personal success. The team already had a huge lead so experimenting was always an option.
“No, it’s not like that. He was out of the game and it was not due to any injury or taking rest. We already knew we had a big lead so keeping Vikas out of the game in the last few minutes was to give the opportunities to the other players also. It was only in the last 2-3 minutes so it wasn’t a big deal for us as we had a good lead” the coach said.
Vikash who was happy to see a huge amount of support he receives from the Delhi crowd seemed very happy as he expressed that the cheers make him play well and that eventually helps the team to perform well.
“The cheering has a very positive impact on my game. As Haryana is close to Delhi, some of my relatives, my parents and friends had also come to watch me play. This gives me a lot of support as they cheer for me during the game and I am able to play well for my team,” Vikash said.
Team coach Mandar Reddy also denied the fact that the team is completely dependent on Vikash in order to win games. He said that the team steps out with a plan and everything is always in order how its decided. The coach answered “No, I wouldn’t totally agree to this as we plan things before the games. Our players know what they are all capable of and have confidence on their capabilities. If you look closely, then both of our raiders and defenders have had a successful season so far.”
Haryana Steelers did not have a good run in the last season but talking about this year’s performance, coach revealed what was needed for the team to come on the winning track as. With the inclusion of Rakesh Kumar as the coach and veteran Dharmaraj Cheralathan as the skipper of the side, the team’s caravan seems to come on the right track.
“Initially we lost 2-3 games but then me and Rakesh came up together to plan things well for the team. We then reached out to our players to motivate them. We implemented our plan well and as the players also played very well and contributed in the team’s win. We just had to deal with small problems in the team which we fixed it within ourselves and then we were all good to go” assistant coach Mandar Shetty’s remark came after the match in the Press conference.
Haryana Steelers will now be meeting Puneri Paltan in the Chennai leg on 2nd of September. Their run for the top position will continue as they seem unbeatable in the tournament. It will be an exciting contest to see.