U Mumba raider Abhishek Singh has revealed that before the match against Haryana Steelers, skipper Fazel Atrachali had advised them to play freely and not to take the pressure of the eliminator game. Abhishek also spoke about the camaraderie between him and the other raider Arjun Deshwal.
U Mumba won their eliminator match against Haryana Steelers with the scoreline of 46-38 as both their departments seemed in-sync with each other. U Mumba took a strong lead by inflicting an all-out in the first half itself and finishing the half with the scoreline of 22-15. The raiders were the catalyst to this win as they scored 32 points collectively. The top scorer was Abhishek Singh with 16 raid points.
“Well, it was the playoffs and (Fazel) told us to play freely without any pressure. The plan was to just go out there to do our best and play well. Plus, we hadn’t lost to them by a big margin in the previous games as well. So, we applied pressure on them from the start with bonus points and the defence did their part as well. Now our focus is to do well in our next match against Bengal Warriors,” Abhishek said while talking about his mindset before the game in the post-match press conference.
The defence played a key role too as that was where the major point difference was visible between the two teams. Mumba’s defence unit scored nine points whereas Haryana was only able to score five. Though everyone is more surprised by raiding unit’s performance as it was unexpected and maybe that was something that even caught the opposition off-guard.
“The first time you asked me this question I gave you the same answer. No one knew ‘Baahubali’ Siddharth Desai (who was with U Mumba) last year but he’s very well-known this season. Something similar is happening with Abhishek and Arjun this year. Even Pardeep Narwal was an unknown when he first entered Pro Kabaddi. I always had great faith in (Abhishek and Arjun) and they proved me right with their performances tonight,” U Mumba coach Sanjeev Baliyan explained.
The raiding unit was more noticeable as the combination of Abhishek Singh and Arjun Deshwal was only unsuccessful five times. When Abhishek has been the most successful raider for U Mumba this season. Arjun's timely support made them stand out. So, Abhishek scored 16 raid points and Arjun scored 15 raid points.
“Our combination has always been good. We have experience of playing together for U.P. at state level and we have always done well together. We always get quite a few points for the team while raiding in tandem. Last year, also, we were together but an injury to him prevented our partnership from flourishing for U Mumba. This season, he’s been good and, despite suffering another injury setback midseason, he’s come back strongly, and we are raiding well together,” Abhishek signed off.