Patna Pirates’ have had a fascinating journey this season thus far. Wins have followed losses, good performances have followed poor ones. However, of late, their form has been spectacular, and one can safely assume they are back to their best title winning form. They are currently on a four-game win streak, having defeated formidable opponents Bengaluru Bulls, Tamil Thalaivas, Dabang Delhi and Bengal Warriors in quick succession. The picture now depicts a stark contrast to their early season woes.
The Pirates put in an unconvincing performance in the season opener on the 7th of October against Tamil Thalaivas and were beaten by a colossal 16 points as the score board read 26-42 at the end of the game. This unexpected score-line added to the high expectations fans had from the team in their second encounter with the Thalaivas. And they were not disappointed, as the Pirates played with a well-rehearsed strategy with inputs from their star players which resulted in a well-deserved 45-27 victory.
Patna Raider vs Tamil Defender:
In the previous game, Manjeet “Giantkiller” Chillar and his teammates won 11 tackle points, a spectacular reflection of their defensive solidarity. On the other end of the spectrum, the Pirates’ defenders managed a grand total of 2 tackle points. This time around, Patna’s raiders made a mockery of Tamil’s great defenders, evading them time and again, and tiring them out with each raid, providing scope for future raid points as well.
Captain and Dubki King Pardeep Narwal managed to score a brilliant 13 points, adding a 9th Super10 to his already stellar record! Traditionally, the main battle in a game would be between the two captains of the team. However, in this match, the two individuals locking horns were Pardeep and Tamil’s best defender, Manjeet. Narwal had seemingly decided to take Manjeet out of the game from the very start, and vice versa. The result: they both took each other out 3 times, providing intensity from both ends of the game. Eventually Pardeep won the battle, ending the game by ousting Manjeet for the 4th and final time. The highlight of this game was Narwal’s super-fast rendition of the “Dubki”, contributing to the scoreboard in a massive way.
Patna Players evolving as all-rounders:
The Tamil Thalaivas seemed to have a clear strategy, with individual roles being carried out very well, in both games. However, though this may seem counter-intuitive, their well-structured approach proved to be their downfall. Their rigidity prevented them from utilizing players in a more dynamic way. The Pirates took full advantage of that, with Manjeet covering all bases throughout. It wouldn’t be incorrect to brand him an all-rounder, post his outstanding display of raiding and defending in this match. The tall raider was a powerhouse of energy, nearly tackling a defender while escaping from a raid, instead of being the one tackled! His contribution to tackle points at crucial junctions of the game was appreciated unanimously by the Pirates’ fans. He demonstrated a perfect ankle hold twice in the game, against both Surjeet Narwal and Jasvir.
The Pirates seemed to have added new depth to their game, utilising the impact of all-out points, bonus points and raid points along with the exciting raid and tackle points, which gave them an immense advantage on the score-board.
Deepak Narwal has transitioned into a do-or-die raid specialist, contributing to the victory with a total of 8 bonus points and 6 all-out points and completing his Super10. He was substituted into the game specifically for a do-or-die raid at one stage, where he took out Darshan and a bonus point from the Thalaivas. His attempt at a Toofani Super Raid was deemed illegal by the referee, prompting a reaction of dismay from several Patna Pirates supporters.
Despite their unbelievable performance the first time around, Tamil’s deadly duo: Captain Ajay Thakur and Defender Manjeet Chillar, couldn’t do much to prevent a well-earned Pirates victory. Despite a few instances of poor defending, the overall quality of Patna’s attack and a few inspired moments from their stars won them this game. Post this game Patna maintained their second position on the table while the Thalaivas stand last.
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