September 4 witnessed the inaugural edition of the Ultimate Kho Kho (UKK) coming to an end at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Mahalunge, Pune. Odisha Juggernauts claimed the UKK trophy as they kept their calm in a tight one-point win against Telugu Yoddhas. The Yoddhas gave them a tough fight and made them sweat for a win in the Final.
It's the Juggernauts who can smile the most at the end of UKK Season 1. They put on a show in the Final like never before. The Juggernauts hit the top gear in the dying moments of the game to clinch victory. It was the Defenders who won the game for the Juggernauts. This team was a cut above the rest and Suraj Lande gave them the finishing touch to lift the trophy.
Let’s have a look at the journey of the first UKK champions since the beginning of the season:
An eight-point win on 15th August - Odisha Juggernauts started their UKK journey against Chennai Quick Guns in Match 4 of the season. They announced their arrival on the big stage with a 51-43 margin win over Quick Guns in the defence. Mahesha P’s 10 points in the attack and Dilip Khandavi’s 1:01 seconds on the mat guided them to a win.
A five-point loss on 16th August - In their second game, Odisha Juggernauts took on Gujarat Giants in Match 6 of UKK. They looked good until the Giants made a turnaround in the last minute of the game to win by a scoreline of 54-49. Milind Chavrekar tried his best to get his side over the line with 11 points in the Attack but it went in vain.
A 19-point win on 19th August - The Juggernauts were up against Rajasthan Warriors in Match 9 of the tournament. Odisha pushed themselves into the attack in the final Turn and with the help of an all-round effort, they won the game with a mammoth 65-46 margin. Gowtham M K was the star in the defence for the Juggernauts.
A three-point win on 21st August - Odisha played their next game against Gujarat Giants in Match 11. This was also the reverse fixture as they faced their only defeat of the tournament so far against the same opposition. They won the nail-biter by a margin of 50-47 to break the Gujarat Giants’ winning run. Subhasish Santra, Dilip Khandavi and Vishal were the top players for the Juggernauts in this victory.
A 10-point win on 24th August - It was Match 15 when Odisha Juggernauts met Chennai Quick Guns for the second time in the competition. The Juggernauts were in total control to make it two in two against the Quick Guns with a 51-41 margin win. Milind Chavrekar scored 9 points in the attack while Subhasish Santra spent 1:18 seconds on the mat to take their team to their fourth win.
A six-point win on 25th August - The Juggernauts met Rajasthan Warriors for the second time this season in Match 17. The Warriors did their homework after the loss in the previous game but the Juggernauts’ Attackers changed gears in the final Turn to claim an emphatic 51-45 win. Nilesh Jadhav amassed 16 points whereas the captain, Dipesh More stood tall in the defence for 2:53 seconds to steer the Juggernauts to victory which helped them to go on top of the points table.
A 23-point win on 27th August - Odisha Juggernauts locked horns with Mumbai Khiladis for the first time in UKK In Match 22. They looked mighty impressive as they booked the playoff berth in their seventh game of the season as they beat Mumbai Khiladis by a clinical scoreline of 60-37. Dilip Khandavi shone for the Juggernauts in this encounter as he spent 2:54 seconds on the mat.
A nine-point win on 28th August - In their eighth match, which was Match 23 of the season, they tussled against Telugu Yoddhas. They outplayed the Yoddhas in the defence and booked a spot for Qualifier 1 with a 48-39 margin win. The heroes of the game for Odisha Juggernauts were Gowtham M K who got nine points to his name in the attack and Vishal who had a defending time of 2:33 seconds.
A 48-point loss on 30th August - The Juggernauts made a few changes to their side and rested the big guns for the Playoffs when they squared off against Mumbai Khiladis in Match 27. The young and inexperienced Odisha brigade had no answers to the Khiladis in any of the two departments. They faced a heavy 79-31 margin defeat in their penultimate league stage game.
A 29-point loss on 31st August - In their final league stage fixture, they battled against Telugu Yoddhas with almost the same side that played in the previous game against the Khiladis. The Yoddhas took revenge for the loss in the previous game as the Juggernauts were beaten all ends up with a 65-36 margin loss. The only silver lining for the Juggernauts in this contest was Gurjinder Singh who was also the best Defender of the game with a defending time of 2:26 seconds.
A 14-point win on 2nd September in Qualifier 1 - The Juggernauts faced Gujarat Giants for the third time in this edition of UKK. The game was expected to be a thriller as both teams had 1 win and 1 loss against each other. The Juggernauts looked on a roll right from the word go and booked a direct ticket for the Final as they knocked out Gujarat Giants by a scoreline of 57-43. Suraj Lande was the match-winner for the Juggernauts who mustered 13 points in the attack.
One-point win on 4th September in the Final - Odisha Juggernauts stepped on the mat for the one last time in the season against their opponents Telugu Yoddhas in the Final. Both teams were coming into this game with a 1:1 win and loss ratio. The high voltage clash looked even-stevens until we reached the dying moments of the game where Suraj Lande won the un-winnable cliffhanger for Odisha Juggernauts with a Sky Dive against Avdhut Patil.