PKL: Bengal aim to win three games to secure playoff berth

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Kolkata, Dec 20 (IANS) Bengal Warriors skipper Surjeet Singh feels their first aim should be to secure qualification for the playoffs as they begin their home run of six matches in the last leg of the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL), starting Friday at the Netaji Indoor Stadium here.

The Warriors, who are now placed fourth in Zone B with 48 points from 16 matches, have reached the playoffs twice including last year.

The city-based outfit take on wooden spooners Tamil Thalaivas in their first game followed by Patna Pirates and inter zone wild card opponent Dabang Delhi.

“The first three matches are very important for us. If we win the first three games, our qualification is secured,” right cover Surjeet told IANS on the eve of their first match.

“That is the first aim. Then we need to also keep in mind that if we manage to win all six games, we will top the group and get the advantage of playing an extra match if we lose,” he said.

The top two teams from each pool will qualify for the knockouts with group winners playing each other for a direct place in the final.

The second best team will take on the winner of the second semi-final played between the two second ranked teams in both the groups.

Surjeet stressed that they cannot get ahead of themselves and think about winning all six games just now and think about one match at a time.

“We will have to improve on a few areas and we have worked on that. We cannot think of topping the group just yet as we have a job to do from tomorrow. We need to focus on each match individually as one slip up can cost us,” Surjeet added.

Coach Jagdish Kumble urged the local crowd to get behind the team as they are playing at home the last in the caravan league format and are craving for home comfort.

“We want the people of Kolkata to come in large numbers and get behind us. We have missed support as we have been on the road for far too long. We have seen Tamil Thalaivas get huge support and other teams too. We are seeking home comfort,” said Kumble.

There are no injuries in the side, captain Surjeet further said, adding they need to improve on their raiding and defending going into the last six matches.

The Warriors will depend heavily on star raider Maninder Singh, who has 141 raid points from 15 games so far while experienced all-rounder Ran Singh will have to shoulder a lot of responsibility to balance the team.

South Korean raider Jang Kung Lee, who has been with the side since the first season, will also be tasked with garnering raid points and helping the youngsters.

–IANS

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