Ultimate Kho Kho’s (UKK) inaugural edition got underway at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Mahalunge, Pune on Sunday amidst plenty of glitz and glamour. The opening day saw the esteemed presence of the KKFI President, Mr. Sudhanshu, CEO and League Commissioner of UKK, Tenzing Niyogi, and Member of Parliament, Prakash Jawdekar. The fans were delighted and gathered in large numbers to witness the proceedings.
Day one kicked off with Mumbai Khiladis being dominated by Gujarat Giants, who registered a thumping 44-69 win over their rivals. In the second match, it was Telugu Yoddhas who got the better of their Southern counterpart Chennai Quick Guns by a 38-48 margin.
Match 1: Mumbai Khiladis vs Gujarat Giants
The first three Defenders who entered the mat for the Giants in Batch 1 were Akshay Bhangare, Mareppa, and Vinayak Pokarde. Mumbai Khiladis got off to a flying start and were leading 13-0 before Gujarat Giants got off the mark with 2:20 seconds left in Turn 1. At the end of the first seven minutes, the Khiladis were way ahead as they dismissed 10 Defenders off the mat. However, the second Gujarat batch had managed to register a Dream Run which saw them ending with a two-point advantage.
When it came to Gujarat’s turn to attack, they put up a good show and effected 10 dismissals on the Khiladis, which included some beautiful pole dives and sky dives, leading to bonus points. Thus, when the whistle blew for half-time, they entered the break with a slight lead of 2 points as the scoreline read 26-24 in their favour.
Mumbai Khiladis pushed themselves post the break and recovered to some extent in Turn 3, but Gujarat managed to keep calm and went on to score their second Dream Run of the match, leading to bonus points. This ensured that there remained just a 14-point lead for the home team heading into the last Turn.
Turn 4 completely belonged to the Giants. They made an impressive move to take a Powerplay before the start of the Turn. They took the lead with still three and a half minutes left in the game and since then, there was no looking back for them. Gujarat Giants kept accumulating points till the end of the game and claimed a comfortable win by 25 points.
Attacker of the Match: Visag S
Defender of the Match: Aniket Pote
Ultimate Kho of the Match: Aniket Pote
Match 2: Chennai Quick Guns vs Telugu Yoddhas
In the second game of the day, Chennai won the toss and decided to defend first. Telugu Yoddhas were right on the money from the word go and managed to register 25 points on the board by the end of Turn 1. This piled the pressure on the Chennai Attackers, who had to close in the margin in Turn 2.
They, however, failed to perform to their true potential with the Telugu Yoddhas succeeding in restricting them to just 15 points in the entire turn. Two Dream Runs in the half proved to be the difference, as Telugu entered the break leading 29-15.
In the second half, the Yoddhas continued their form and kept the scoreboard ticking comfortably through their attackers. Chennai Quick Guns were feeling the heat and could manage to earn just two points in this Turn, thanks to a last second Dream Run. However, they had a huge task of overcoming a 31 point lead in the last turn.
The Chennai Quick Guns were quick on their feet in Turn 4 as they ably dismissed 15 Defenders but it was too little, too late as Telugu won the game by 10 points.
Attacker of the Match: Arun Gunki
Defender of the Match: Deepak Madhav
Ultimate Kho of the Match: Pratik Waikar