Defending champions Odisha Juggernauts rose to the top of the table in front of a passionate home crowd as they registered a confident 35-27 victory over high-flying Telugu Yoddhas in their Ultimate Kho Kho Season 2 matchup at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium in Cuttack on Sunday.

The defeat, on the other hand, meant the Yoddhas moved to fourth, and their four-game winning run coming to a conclusion.

Odisha Juggernauts began Turn 1 with confidence and command. Their first batch of Dilip Khandavi, Gowtham MK and Nikhil Sodaye lasted three minutes and 32 seconds on the pitch and got three Dream Run points. Then, all-rounder Rohan Shingade frustrated the Telugu Yoddhas attackers by staying unconquered and earning a Dream Run point. The lead for Telugu Yoddhas at the end of Turn 1 was just seven points.

Odisha Juggernauts consolidated that advantage with a brilliant attacking turn. They sent back Telugu Yoddhas’ first batch in a minute and 37 seconds. Their second batch only fared marginally better, staying on the mat for a minute and 48 seconds. Batch 3 did come within fifteen seconds of a dream run point, but that did little to reverse the momentum. Odisha Juggernauts headed into the second innings with a strong 23-10 lead.

Things did not get any better for Telugu Yoddhas in Turn 3. Odisha Juggernauts’ first batch of Omkar Sonwane, Dipesh More and Nikhil B lasted three minutes and 57 seconds on the mat, earning two dream run points. Their second batch did not last long, but two members of their third batch remained unbeaten as Odisha Juggernauts took a 25-24 lead into the final turn.
The final turn of the game saw a late promising display from the Yoddhas’ defenders. Avdhut Patil executed a meticulous run, successfully eluding his attackers for a continuous 4 minutes and 30 seconds and thus earning three crucial Dream Runs before being eliminated. However, it was too late as despite restricting the hosts to just 10 points, Telugu Yoddhas ultimately went down to Odisha Juggernauts with the score reading 27-35.

What’s next? Telugu Yoddhas return to the mat tomorrow to take on Gujarat Giants, while the Odisha Juggernauts entertain the Mumbai Khiladis on January 9.
Match Awards

Best Attacker of the Match: Dilip Khandavi (Odisha Juggernauts)

Best Defender of the Match: Avdhut Patil (Telugu Yoddhas)

Ultimate Kho of the Match: Rohan Shingade (Odisha Juggernauts)