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Updated February 1st, 2024 at 19:36 IST

As battle heats up for PKL playoffs, Haryana Steelers gear up for a familiar foe in Gujarat Giants

The two legendary players-turned-coaches of India, Manpreet and Ram Meher will go head-to-head once again with the battle heating up for the playoffs.

Haryana Steelers Captain Jaideep Dahiya
Haryana Steelers Captain Jaideep Dahiya | Image:PKL
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In one of the most anticipated clashes of the season, Coach Manpreet Singh’s Haryana Steelers will take on Coach Ram Meher Singh’s Gujarat Giants at the Thyagaraj Indoor Stadium, Delhi on Friday. The JSW Sports franchise surpassed the Bengal Warriors test in their last game, picking a solid 41-36 win, and will now look to continue in the same vein of form to maintain their place in the top six.

The two legendary players-turned-coaches of India, Manpreet and Ram Meher will go head-to-head once again with the battle heating up for the playoffs. Currently, Gujarat are placed at no. 4 white Haryana are sitting at no. 5 in the points table. The two teams met last time in December, and Steelers had won the thrilling match 31-29.

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Manpreet believes that the upcoming encounter will again live up to its billing and expressed his excitement for the challenge. "Ram Meher ji is like a big brother. He has represented India for a long time and I have a lot of respect for him,” he said.

“I have played alongside him in nationals and international matches for many years. This will be a great match. We will work on our team and he will make strategies as per his team’s strengths. We have beaten Gujarat Giants before, so we feel we have a mental edge. We will try to make it double. Having coached Gujarat Giants before, I am sure a lot of Gujarat fans will also support me and our team. So, this will be an exciting contest,” Manpreet added.

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The two coaches are known for their clever strategies on the mat. But, the Steelers coach believes that both teams will have their moments on Friday. “The game will be more enjoyable if both teams have a good game. We hope the traps Ram Meher sets for our raiders presents a challenge to us, and we also hope that we are able to lure Fazel Atrachali and get a touch point on him,” he said.

Meanwhile, Manpreet spoke highly of his team’s performance this season so far and explained the reasons behind his team’s success. “If you are in the top six after the first two months, then your team has worked hard, and are in good shape, fitness wise. We feel we are in a good position at the moment to make it to the playoffs,” he said.

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He further added: "Our team has a great balance. When we know that the opposition team has a weak defence on the left, we are able to employ raiders who are strong on the left side, and vice-versa. We have a perfect blend of experience and youth and when our defence and raiding departments work in a collaboration, our team performs well.”

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Published February 1st, 2024 at 19:36 IST

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