Haryana Steelers skipper Dharmaraj Cheralathan has admitted that the lapses in defence against Mumba led to the team losing in the eliminator encounter. He also talked about his experience of working with Rakesh Kumar after Haryana Steelers lost to U Mumba with a scoreline of 46-38.
The Steelers had a good journey in this season of PKL under new coach Rakesh Kumar but they weren’t able to make the most of the opportunity of playing in the playoffs. Their defence crumbled under pressure and despite the raiders giving their best, Haryana lost the match. The defence was able to score five points. The highest point scorer was Chand Singh with two points from a super tackle that too in the last minute.
“We had to change our strategy because our defence wasn’t functioning well. We had quite a few lapses in defence resulting in a change of plans for us,” Dharmaraj Cheralathan said in the post-match press conference.
The raiding unit scored 30 points of the total 36 while the top scorer was Vikash Kandola scored 12 points in 16 raids and he was well supported by Vinay and Prashanth Kumar Rai who scored nine points each. The defence made unsuccessful attempts which means they gave this many points.
“The points we scored are all because of our raiders. If you look at the points we scored through the defence, you will just see a few tackle points, which is why we lost tonight,” Rakesh Kumar said.
It was the first season of Rakesh Kumar as a coach and it so happened that he worked for Haryana Steelers to reach the playoffs for the first time even though they weren't able to win the championship.
"We have played together and against each other for 15 years and for me, he has delivered a very good performance as a coach in his debut season in the role. He has worked very hard and Haryana Steelers didn’t qualify for the playoffs tonight because of lapses in defence, nothing else,” Cheralathan concluded.