After 18 days of an incredible journey in Ultimate Kho Kho (UKK), we finally have our maiden winner - Odisha Juggernauts. The Juggernauts handled the pressure of the Final really well to become the Season 1 champions at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Mahalunge, Pune. The Final was nothing less than a dramatic and thrilling movie with multiple twists and turns. It had everything that a Kho Kho fanatic can dream of. Odisha Juggernauts went from pole to the podium in the maiden UKK campaign with a hard-fought victory against Telugu Yoddhas to win it 46-45 in the dying seconds.
Final: Odisha Juggernauts vs Telugu Yoddhas
Odisha Juggernauts won the toss and decided to defend first in the most-awaited encounter of UKK against Telugu Yoddhas. The Juggernauts’ Batch 1 Defenders looked final ready as they got off to a flyer when Gowtham M K and Nilesh Jadhav combined for an eight-point Dream Run. The Yoddhas felt the heat when the scores got levelled at eight each at the end of the Batch clock. They took the Powerplay against Batch 2 but couldn't do much of the damage as Dilip Khandavi added salt to injury with another Dream Run for the Juggernauts. The Juggernauts performed exceptionally well in the defence against the most lethal attack of UKK. The game promised to be a thrilling finale as the game was even-stevens with 10-10 on the board at the end of the first seven minutes.
The Juggernauts took the Powerplay against the Yoddhas’ first Batch of Defenders but Telugu captain Pratik Waikar looked to keep his team’s hope alive and managed to secure a Dream Run. Yoddhas’ second Batch took some inspiration and looked mighty impressive as they scored a Dream Run without losing any of their Defenders. The Yoddhas took a review against a Running Touch by Subhasish Santra on Arun Gunki and it turned out to be an unsuccessful one. With a four-minute stay on the mat, Adarsh Mohite from this Batch completed an eight-point Dream Run for the Yoddhas. At the end of the first inning, the Juggernauts had only a three-point lead against the Yoddhas.
After the end of a riveting inning, the Yoddhas started the proceedings of Turn 3 with a flurry of Khos to take away the lead from the Juggernauts after dismissing the first two Defenders of Batch 1, but Suraj Lande took the responsibility and achieved a Dream Run. The Juggernauts’ Defender Mahesha P. took a review against a Sky Dive from Rohan Shingade but it was overturned by the TV umpire. This Batch added salt to the Yoddhas’ injury with another Dream Run. After this, the Yoddhas took a review and lost it to end their only review of this inning. The Yoddhas scored 21-points in the attack to have a 14-point lead at the end of the third installment.
It was game on in the final Turn as Prasad Radye, one of the Defenders from Yoddhas’ Batch 1 produced a Dream Run before his exit. The Juggernauts took the Powerplay to cut down the deficit but Sachin Bhargo from Batch 2 kept fighting until he secured a Dream Run for his side. The game went down to the wire as the score read 45-43 in Telugu’s favour at the end of the Batch clock. It was an electric Sky Dive from the Juggernauts’ Attacker, Suraj Lande which not only got rid of Avdhut Patil but also won the game for his side. The Juggernauts won this nail-biter by a whisker against the Yoddhas by a scoreline of 46-45.
Attacker of the Match: Arun Gunki
Defender of the Match: Dilip Khandavi
Ultimate Kho of the Match: Vishal