It was a spectacular exhibit in the Ultimate Kho Kho (UKK) on Friday at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Mahalunge, Pune. Telugu Yoddhas were head and shoulders above Chennai Quick Guns as they eliminated them after a 61-43 margin win, in the first contest. In the second game, Odisha Juggernauts registered a resounding 57-43 win against Gujarat Giants in Qualifier 1 to book a final berth.
Eliminator: Telugu Yoddhas vs Chennai Quick Guns
In the southern derby, Telugu Yoddhas won the toss and interestingly decided to attack first, which is not the mainstream in UKK history. The Yoddhas started off well and dismissed Chennai’s first Batch of Defenders in 1:56 seconds. The Yoddhas took the Powerplay with Batch 2 Defenders on the mat but couldn't make good use of it as the Quick Guns gave a solid reply with a six-point Dream Run courtesy of Amit Patil. With four Sky Dives and a Pole Dive, the Yoddhas scored 19 points in the attack to have a 13-point lead at the end of the first Turn.
Pratik Waikar came in Batch 1 and led the Yoddhas from the front and produced a six-point Dream Run before his exit. The Quick Guns took the Powerplay against the second Batch of Defenders and cleaned them up with ease. With a Sky Dive against Prajwal K H, the Quick Guns’ skipper gave a one-point lead to his side. At the end of the first inning, there was hardly anything to pick between the two sides as the score read 26-25 in Chennai’s favour.
In the vital third Turn, the Yoddhas attacked to perfection as they wiped off Quick Guns’ Batch 1 Defenders in 1:03 seconds. The Yoddhas took the Powerplay as the next Batch of Defenders included the danger man, Ramji Kashyap, whom Adarsh Mohite sent packing. Telugu Yoddhas put up a fantastic show as they wrapped up the second Batch in no time. They kept pushing hard in the attack to extend their lead. Chennai Quick Guns succumbed under pressure and conceded a Full On Chase. With this, the Yoddhas went past the 50-point mark as the Quick Guns failed to perform in the defence. The Yoddhas scored 34 attacking points, whereas Quick Guns couldn’t add points to their tally in the third installment.
The Quick Guns had a mountain to climb in the final Turn to make a game out of this one. They had a tough task and to cut down the deficit they took the Powerplay against Yoddhas’ Batch 2. However, Pratik Waikar kept going strong in the defence again for the Yoddhas and scored a Dream Run, while missing out on adding two more points by just a second. The Yoddhas had full control over the game starting from the beginning and won the game by a scoreline of 61-43 to make it to Qualifier 2. With this loss, the Chennai Quick Guns were knocked out of the tournament.
Attacker of the Match: Adarsh Mohite
Defender of the Match: Ramji Kashyap
Ultimate Kho of the Match: Pratik Waikar
Qualifier 1: Gujarat Giants vs Odisha Juggernauts
Gujarat Giants won the toss and elected to defend first. The Juggernauts took the Powerplay to clear their intentions and got rid of the Giants’ Batch 1 Defenders in 2:07 seconds. They scored eight points against this Batch. Thereafter, Aniket Pote looked to open the account for the Giants until Nilesh Jadhav got the better of him with a Pole Dive with only a second left for 2:30 seconds on the Batch clock. The Juggernauts had a 23 to nil lead at the end of the first seven minutes in the game.
The Giants took the Powerplay at the start of this Turn but the man in form Gowtham M K scored a Dream Run for the Juggernauts in the first Batch. Dilip Khandavi looked to extend the lead for the Juggernauts when he came in Batch 2 and was looking good in the defence with his dodging skills, but Abhinandan Patil had the last laugh against the star Defender. The Juggernauts’ Batch 3, which included their captain, Milind Chavrekar achieved another Dream Run before the end of the inning whistle to get their team a nine-point advantage against the Giants.
In the decisive Turn 3, the Juggernauts took the Powerplay to continue the momentum in the attack against the Giants’ first two Batches. Then came a twist in the tale as Aniket Pote opened the account for the Giants in the defence. Gujarat’s third Batch of Defenders played well but couldn’t get a Dream Run as the Juggernauts came to the party in some fashion. Odisha Juggernauts had a massive 31-point lead at the end of the penultimate Turn.
The final Turn was expected to be an edge-of-a-seat thriller as the Giants have been a team which has performed well under pressure. They took the Powerplay at the start of the Turn and removed Odisha’s Batch 1 Defenders early. They were looking for three-pointers against the second Batch but they looked off track as the Batch completed a six-point Dream Run. Odisha Juggernauts were through to the summit clash with a magnificent 57-43 margin win against Gujarat Giants. After this loss, Gujarat Giants will now meet Telugu Yoddhas on Saturday in Qualifier 2.
Attacker of the Match: Suraj Lande
Defender of the Match: Suyash Gargate
Ultimate Kho of the Match: Abhinandan Patil