In Qualifier 2, Telugu Yoddhas put on a dominating show in the Ultimate Kho Kho (UKK) on Saturday. Their opponent, Gujarat Giants seemed off track in chasing down the mammoth numbers right after the first Turn. With a complete team effort, Telugu Yoddhas brush aside Gujarat Giants by a scoreline of 67-44 at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Mahalunge, Pune. 

Qualifier 2: Gujarat Giants vs Telugu Yoddhas

Telugu Yoddhas won the toss and elected to Attack first. They trusted their Defence by attacking first and took the Powerplay against the Giants’ Batch 1 Defenders. Gujarat Giants took a review after Akshay Bhangare was adjudged out against a Running Touch by Pratik Waikar and it turned out to be an unsuccessful one. The Yoddhas got rid of this Batch in 1:45 seconds. They turned on the heat when they rattled the second and the third Batch in no time. Thereupon, Batch 4 failed to protect a Full On Chase and was dismissed easily to give away a three-point bonus to the Yoddhas. Telugu Yoddhas performed four Sky Dives and four Pole Dives to have a 37 to nil score on the board at the end of the opening Turn.

In Turn 2, the Giants took the Powerplay to recover and close in, but the Yoddhas’ Batch 1 Defenders scored a Dream Run as Deepak Madhav was on song in the defence. The Yoddhas lost their only review of the inning when Rohan Shingade was sent back to the dugout with a Dive from Aniket Pote. The Yoddhas’ Defenders were able to burn time on the mat as the Giants’ Attackers looked out of touch. The Yoddhas were in a commanding position with an 18-point lead at the end of the halfway stage.  

The Yoddhas took the Powerplay when Gujarat’s Batch 1 Defenders came on the mat in Turn 3. Akshay Bhangare went upstairs and took a review when he was given out against Adarsh Mohite’s Pole Dive, but the TV umpire stayed with the original decision of out. After that, Batch 2 gave them some hope as they tried making a match out of it, especially Abhinandan Patil, who single-handedly scored an eight-point Dream Run. However, the Yoddhas looked in the driving seat as the Giants had a 32-point deficit at the end of the penultimate Turn.

It was a good setup for a thrilling contest in the last Turn. The Giants looked to mount a comeback. The Yoddhas' first Batch of Defenders looked to slow things down and Dhruv secured a Dream Run for his side. The Giants took the Powerplay but failed to recover as Telugu captain, Pratik Waikar and Deepak Madhav contributed to a four-point Dream Run. The Giants missed their regular captain, Ranjan Shetty’s experience on the mat as the Yoddhas made it to the finals with a scoreline of 67-44. Gujarat Giants had to settle with the third spot in UKK Season 1 after this loss.

Match Awards:

Attacker of the Match: Arun Gunki
Defender of the Match: Abhinandan Patil
Ultimate Kho of the Match: Pratik Waikar