Upbeat Steelers look to ride Bengal challenge

Wazir Singh, who celebrated his birthday last weekend, will look for many happy returns on Tuesday

Haryana Steelers coach Ranbir Singh Khokhar remains confident of carrying a winning streak going into his side’s home leg in Sonepat set to begin on September 8, as they take on home side Bengal Warriors at the Netaji Indoor Stadium in Kolkata, on Tuesday. Following a comeback win against Gujarat Fortunegiants, Khokhar says his side is raring to go.

“Everyone was elated with the win (against Fortunegiants). We were quite disappointed with our performance in Mumbai, where it was a collective failure, and we needed this win to boost ourselves. We were 12 points behind and then came back to win by six points. Winning like that motivates you to do well. We were charged up for our home leg as it is and that win against FortuneGiants has raised our spirits,” said Khokhar.

The Steelers, following their win over Gujarat, stayed back to watch the Warriors face Tamil Thalaivas and Khokhar believes that his side will working on their own strengths rather than the opposition’s weaknesses. “We may not have played Bengal but we have been watching their games. They have some very strong players in Surjeet (Singh), (Jang Kun) Lee and Maninder (Singh) and from our side, we have our tactics in place. Unfamiliarity is not a problem in professional leagues as long as teams are willing to work hard on their own strengths rather than the opposition’s weaknesses.”

The hero of Steelers' last win, Prashanth Rai warms up before training in Kolkata on Monday

Khokhar praised the effort of raider Prashanth Kumar Rai, whose stellar performance earned the Steelers victory in the previous clash and tipped the 33-year-old to play a key part going forward in the League. “Prashanth is one of the most experienced and hardworking boys we have in the team. He got his big break and made the most of it against Gujarat. His 16 points out of our cumulative 42 is one of the biggest reasons we won and I can assure you that this is just the beginning for him.”

The Steelers, following their clash against Bengal Warriors, head home to Sonepat for games beginning September 8th and coach Khokhar says playing in Haryana will be a big factor in their results.

“We have been training to win. Of course, there will be a change in the way we approach the games at home, but the routine remains the same. We need to win, that's the only desired outcome. The fact that we will be playing for the Haryana team, in Haryana is perhaps all the motivation we need to go out and put on strong performances.”

The match begins at 9 pm and will be telecast live on Star Sports 1 Hindi, Star Sports HD 2, Star Sports First and Hotstar. 

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