Pro Kabaddi League: Haryana Steelers to take on Gujarat Fortunegiants

Haryana Steelers PKLHyderabad: Haryana Steelers will look to take positives from a strong show in their opening match of the 2017 Pro Kabaddi League against U Mumba, as they face Gujarat Fortunegiants in a Zone A clash at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium in Hyderabad on Wednesday. Coach Ranbir Singh Khokhar called for his side to be resilient as they look to pick up their first win of the campaign.

“I thought we were nervous for the first five minutes, but after that, we came on to our own. Wazir (Singh) and Vikash (Khandola) got us important points whenever we needed against U Mumba, and that was how we claimed a lead,” said Khokhar.

The Steelers impressed fans and commentators in their debut match, and even held a 15-11 advantage at half-time against the 2015 champions U Mumba. But despite Haryana’s best efforts, it boiled down to the one point that gave Mumba the win, and Khokhar says lessons were learned and will be worked on. “In the end, things didn’t go our way, but the players followed what was told and it’s only going to improve from here,” he added.

The Fortunegiants, whose squad comprises rookies such as Sachin Tawar, Rohit Gulia and Kalai Arasan, will be tough competitors and Khokhar mentions that the players will be closely following their opening match against Dabang Delhi on Tuesday night.

“While they do have a few rookies, our players know what they bring to the mat because most of them hail from Haryana. There are a few that we don’t know about, like the players from Iran. But their match against Delhi will help us assess their strengths,” Khokhar said.

Haryana remain buoyed by the performance of young Vikash, who bagged six of the 16 raid points won by the Steelers against U Mumba. Khokhar was full of praise for his youngsters, and expects them to play a key role in this campaign.

“The youngsters are going to play a key role throughout this season. Vikash, Neeraj and Parmod (Narwal) are all young and upcoming players. My plan is to give them a chance whenever I can and it could be as soon as the next match,” he said.

The match is one of two meetings between Gujarat and Haryana this week, with the sides set to meet again on August 8 in Nagpur. The game goes live at 8 pm and will be telecast on Star Sports 1 Hindi, Star Sports HD 2, Star Sports First and on HotStar