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PKL 9: Haryana Steelers face Bengal Warriors in opening encounter

Bengaluru, Oct 8 (IANS) Haryana Steelers open their Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) 9 campaign against former champions Bengal Warriors, at the Sree Kanteerava Indoor Stadium, here on Saturday.

The JSW Sports-owned franchise defeated the Warriors twice in the last campaign, and in the six games the two teams have played against each other, Steelers have won five. Ahead of the upcoming encounter Haryana Steelers vice-captain Manjeet Dahiya insisted that the previous records do not play a role and that the best team on the mat will triumph.

“Both Haryana Steelers and Bengal Warriors have created a fresh squad with several new players coming in. So, the previous records do not really matter at all. In the end, all of us have to put our best on the mat and whichever team performs better, they will win the game,” Manjeet said.

Warriors’ primary strengths for the season would be the raiding trio of Maninder Singh, Deepak Niwas Hooda and Akash Pikalmunde. But with an experienced coach Manpreet Singh in their corner, who has made a reputation for devising strong defensive strategies during his time with Gujarat Giants in the past, Manjeet expressed confidence in his team’s ability to counter Warriors’ attacking troika.

“Coach Manpreet has worked really hard with the defensive unit and we have planned our strategies for the upcoming game keeping the opposition’s strengths in mind. Coach has given all of us a lot of confidence in the training grounds and there is a lot of self-belief in each of us. We are confident about our plans and we hope to stick to them tomorrow,” Manjeet said.

Moreover, Steelers will be led this season by a vastly experienced captain Joginder Narwal, who was a key player for Dabang Delhi’s title-winning campaign last season. The fans will certainly expect Joginder to possess more than a few tricks up his sleeve to neutralize the attacking threat posed by the Bengal Warriors raider.

“It has been a pleasure working on the training ground with Joginder. He is such a motivating personality to be around and he always brings up the atmosphere of the team. He will be the ace in our sleeve in tomorrow’s match,” Manjeet said.

Manjeet, who will be leading the raiding department for Steelers this season expressed confidence that he knows the role he would have to play in the encounter, despite Warriors also packing a punch in the defensive department.

“I understand my role in the team as the leading raider. I know my job is to get as many points for my team as possible early on to keep a wide gap on the scoreline at all times. I also have to constantly adapt myself as per the situation in the match. Despite being against a tough team, we are confident of opening our campaign on a winning note,” Manjeet signed off.

–IANS

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