Delhi knocked out of the tournament with a loss in eliminator.
Defending champions Dabang Delhi were trounced 24-56 by Bengaluru Bulls in the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) 9 eliminator. The Bulls dominated every facet of the game, scoring 30 raid points and 17 tackle points. Delhi’s defence, which was on a hot streak coming into the knockout fixture, failed to contain the Bulls raiders and managed just 4 tackle points. Dabang Delhi coach Krishan Kumar Hooda tore into his players in the post-match press conference.
Assessment of the match
Coach Krishan Kumar Hooda could not digest what just happened. He pointed out that nothing went to plan from the first raid to the last, “I am flabbergasted, and cannot comprehend what just happened today. In all my life, I have never seen a game like this, the defence did not show up at all. Nothing went to plan from the very beginning. When this happens, the raiders become overly offensive. It could not have gotten any worse for us”.
Review of the season
Both captain Naveen Kumar and coach Krishan Kumar Hooda analyzed Dabang Delhi’s season. Following a rollicking start, where they won five in a row, Delhi encountered a rocky period where they lost six games in a row. They still managed to qualify for the playoffs by the skin of their teeth. Naveen answered, “We had the confidence going into this season. There were many ups and downs in season 9. We never played a game like this where we did not stick to the coach’s strategy, and it hurts more in a do-or-die game. We will learn from this experience.”
Coach Krishan Kumar Hooda added, “I have never seen any team play such a bad match at this level in my life. We are the defending champions and have everything: Defence, Naveen. We faced Bengaluru Bulls twice and both matches were neck to neck. I find it hard to understand how we could perform at a time like this. The defence played so poorly, I can’t find words to explain.”
“The only positives were the first 5 matches and things went downhill from there. Even in the middle, we had a lacklustre phase. I have never seen anybody play like this. Both corners played like they did not know how to play. Even the covers, despite having experience of 7-8 years, played poorly. I am terribly disappointed in their performance tonight”, Krishan Kumar Hooda added.
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Naveen’s first season as captain
After storming to success with a team of experienced heads, Dabang Delhi changed their modus operandi and gave Naveen Kumar the captaincy ahead of season 9. The youngster has matured throughout the season as a captain but saw his raiding numbers take a slight dip as the pressure mounted. Naveen assessed his season saying, “First and foremost, I have learnt that it is not easy to be responsible for the whole team. I understood how to think like a captain, how to command my defence and get the team going. As a captain, I have to keep fighting till the very end. It is my duty to ensure that we come back again next season and do not repeat the same mistakes.”
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