New Delhi: Tamil Thalaivas find themselves in a spot of bother suddenly. It has been 20 days now since they last won a match this season. The defeat in Thursday's encounter meant they have lost three matches on the trot, slipping to ninth in the points table.
A team which had a decent start in the tournament fell off the track in their home leg itself, losing three matches out of four in Chennai while one ended in a draw.
When the team entered the contest against Bengal Warriors on Thursday, they would have aimed to start afresh. This was their first and only match in Delhi, and on a very special evening also. Thakur had been conferred with the Arjuna Award earlier in the day in the national capital. The Indian national team captain had waited for the award for long and playing the game of kabaddi on the same day as the ceremony must have inspired him and the troop.
However, Thalaivas looked far from an inspired unit. The match began with both Warriors and Thalaivas looking defensive. After the first eight minutes, the score was tied 5-5. It was then that Warriors captain Maninder Singh and raider and K Parapanjan went on the offensive to get a seven-point lead.
Thalaivas made a good comeback with Thakur showing intent and making some successful raids. However, he had no support from his co-raider Rahul Chaudhary, who was tackled twice inside ten minutes of the first half.
Thalaivas though managed to fight to make it 15-14, ending the first half with just one point behind Bengal.
The desperateness, however, was showing in their camp. While Warriors quickly finished their group chat in the break and looked relaxed, the Thalaivas camp appeared involved in anxious, animated conversations.
The second half began with only three men remaining on the mat for Bengal. Sukesh Hegde then produced a smart raid to begin the quest to stretch the lead.
Thalaivas made a substitution in the 12th minute, letting Anand take charge and he responded with a three-point super raid to reduce Warriors’ lead margin to three points. But Thalaivas' defence continued to make silly errors. There was a clear gap in understanding between the defenders.
There were moments when experienced campaigner Manjeet Chillar made silly errors, giving easy raid points to the Bengal raiders. With Thakur taking 10 points in the game, it was Chillar and Chaudhary's performance that hurt the team the most as the stars failed to rise to the occasion. With just two Super 10s in this season and no super raids, Chaudhary's form could be a big worry for Thalaivas. However, coach E Bhaskaran denied any such notion, saying that he is not out of form and he is trying his best.
The stats, however, are speaking a different story for the star raider.
Thakur too clearly said that individual performances don't matter in kabaddi. Thakur, who scored a Super 10 on Thursday, was a good example for the statement he made. He said team's lack of coordination in key moments is the reason for his team's losses of late.
He said, "Individual performance does not matter here. We are not playing together as a unit. On a day when we are good in offence, our defence falters and some days it is the other way around. This is where we are losing. We have also given freebies to the opponents in the last few minutes of the game.
Coordination is key. I think when we are left with 4-5 players on the mat (on both sides), we tend to lose focus. We are going to work on this weakness," he concluded.
With Thalaivas conceding two All-Outs and not being able to take advantage at the initial few minutes of the second half with Warriors' starting with just three players courtesy of the good finish Thakur's team had made by the end of the first half, justifies what the captain has analysed. However, the lack of form of big players like Chaudhary and Chillar should not be uncounted.
Chaudhary lacked awareness and was going too deep in the corner when he was raiding, which made it easier for the Warriors' defenders to catch him. Thakur entered the 800-points club in PKL on Thursday. Not to forget, he is now an Arjuna awardee as well. But the captain has more left to be pondered in his mind. Thalaivas play the in-form Bengaluru Bulls next and their defence has one big hurdle to cross on 1 September - the season's No 1 raider Pawan Kumar Sehrawat.
Updated Date: Aug 30, 2019 09:39:08 IST