Day 2 of the Ultimate Kho Kho (UKK) League lay witness to two brilliant matchups, as the remaining two debutants, Rajasthan Warriors and Odisha Juggernauts both took to the mat in consecutive matches at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Mahalunge, Pune on Monday. While Rajasthan’s UKK journey started on an unsuccessful note as they lost to Mumbai Khiladis, Odisha ensured a solid beginning as Chennai went down fighting, second time in a row.
Match 3: Rajasthan Warriors vs Mumbai Khiladis
Mumbai Khiladis’ captain Vijay Hajare won the toss and elected to defend against Rajasthan Warriors. The Khiladis skipper went for a review in the very first minute of the game but unfortunately lost it. However, his teammates managed to secure two back-to-back Dream Runs in Batch 2 and 3 to ensure crucial bonus points. Faizankha Pathan was the pick of the Defenders for the Khiladis in Turn 1. On the other hand, Rajasthan got off to a arduous start in their maiden game and could muster just a 14-point lead over the Khiladis at the end of the Turn.
In Turn 2, the Mumbai Attackers were at the top of their game and wiped off the first Warriors batch in less than two minutes. Warriors’ second batch of Defenders, however, stood their ground and secured a Dream Run for their side. Gajanan Shengal, the Mumbai Khiladis Attacker, was on a dream run as he scored extra points off a Sky Dive and a Pole Dive to help his side take a nine-point lead heading into the break.
The Mumbai Defenders continued to show their grand defending skills in Turn 3 and again secured two Dream Runs to dent Rajasthan’s chances. Special mention needs to go out to their third batch, who scored a Dream Run, even when the Rajasthan Powerplay was on and they had two Wazirs on the mat. By the end of the Turn, the Warriors could manage only a slender eight-point lead.
Khiladis’ Attackers accelerated the game to take the lead in Turn 4. A Pole Dive from Durvesh Salunke gave them an upper hand in the closing minutes of the contest. With a few seconds remaining on the clock, the Khiladis made sure they held their nerves to register their first win of the season with a 51-43 scoreline.
Attacker of the Match: Majahar Jamadar
Defender of the Match: Sreejesh S
Ultimate Kho of the Match: Vijay Hajare
Match 4: Odisha Juggernauts vs Chennai Quick Guns
Similar to Mumbai Khiladis, Chennai Quick Guns won the toss and elected to Defend first. Their Batch 1 Defenders made it look like a good decision, as they held their ground to score a crucial Dream Run. Thereafter, the Quick Guns tried their best to slow down the tempo of the game, but the Odisha Attackers made sure that they had an 18-point lead over their opponents at the end of Turn 1.
The Odisha Defenders began their defending sojourn in the UKK on a brilliant note. While their Batch 1 narrowly missed out on a Dream Run, their Batch 2 not only secured a Dream Run but also managed to stay on the mat for an additional 30 seconds to ensure another 2 bonus points. This ensured that by the half-time whistle, Chennai were lagging behind by three points.
The Juggernauts added quick points to the scoreboard in the form of a couple of Sky Dives and Pole Dives in Turn 3. Mahesh Shinde, the Chennai vice-captain, tried his best to turn the tide in favour of his side with a Dream Run secured in a Powerplay. By the end of this turn, the Quick Guns were trailing by a 26-point margin.
Chennai Quick Guns had a mountain to climb when they started their Attack in the last Turn. Their Attackers tried on adding points through dives and touches to close down the gap, but Odisha ensured they kept them sweating for easy points. Milind Chavrekar of Odisha was brilliant on the mat as he slowed things down towards the end of the second innings. As the final whistle blew, the Juggernauts won by a 51-43 margin whereas Chennai succumbed to their second loss of the season.
Attacker of the Match: Mahesha P
Defender of the Match: Dilip Khandavi
Ultimate Kho of the Match: Suraj Lande