The Boxing Day had a special gift for the Kho Kho fans attending Matchday 3 of Ultimate Kho Kho Season 2 - drama, action, and some cracking comebacks.
While Game 5 saw the Gujarat Giants shut down a late comeback from Mumbai Khiladis with a 34-30 triumph in the Western Derby, champions Odisha Juggernauts and Chennai Quick Guns left no stone unturned as they had a tug-of-war for points but ended up salvaging a hard-fought 34-34 draw.
Here is how Matchday 3 ensued….
Match 5: Gujarat Giants vs Mumbai Khiladis
Gujarat Giants were electrifying on the mat in both aspects - attack and defence. In Turn 1, the Giants took less than three minutes to send the first batch of the Mumbai Khiladis back. By the end of the Turn, Gujarat Giants - led by Abhinandan Patil - would enjoy a 14-1 lead. The one point for the Khiladis? Well, all thanks to the determined run of Mahesh Shinde.
Turn 2 saw Gujarat Giants take things up a notch as their defenders registered not one, not two, but THREE Dream Runs. A notable one? That would be the one stitched by Batch 2, fronted by Suyash Gargate. What was the score going into half-time? 17-9 in favour of the Giants.
In Turn 3, Mahesh Shinde notched a Dream Run again for Mumbai Khiladis, but Gujarat Giants were still in the driver’s seat. Abhinandan Patil, the Wazir, took his tally to 14 points and ensured his team maintained a 13-point lead with the score at 33-10 going into the last lap of the game.
Turn 4 of the Western Derby didn’t disappoint, with Mumbai springing up a surprise fightback and notching 20 attack points to reduce the deficit to less than five points. A Dream Run from Ram Mohan would take the score to 34-30, and by the final whistle, the Gujarat Giants had the last laugh in the contest and a second straight win in Ultimate Kho Kho Season 2.
Attacker of the Match: Abhinandan Patil
Defender of the Match: Suyash Gargate
Ultimate Kho of the Match: Gajanan Shengal
Match 6: Odisha Juggernauts vs Chennai Quick Guns
Did the first match of Matchday 3 in Ultimate Kho Kho Season 2 leave you on the edge of your seat? Well, Game 6 will give you a fresh dose of entertainment.
Chennai Quick Guns won the toss, chose to defend, and managed to stitch two Dream Runs - thanks to defender Laxman Gawas. But, they would still find themselves at the backfoot as champions Odisha Juggernauts would race to a 16-2 lead by the end of Turn 1.
Turn 2 saw the team finish on even terms, a surprise for some at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium. This included an eye-catching moment where Deepak Sahoo - the Wazir of the Juggernauts - outsmarted the Wazir of Chennai Quick Guns.
The defending champions would start their counter-attack less than a minute into Turn 3 with a Sky Dive from all-rounder Rohan Shingade to tap out Quick Guns’ Arjun Singh. With critical attacks at timely intervals, Odisha jumped to a 34-16 lead that somehow seemed unattainable to beat. However, Turn 4 was a welcome shocker.
Led by Ramji Kashyap, the Chennai Quick Guns showcased a comeback for the ages: 22-34 within the initial two minutes, 28-34 within five minutes, 32-34 in the following minute, and in the dying seconds of the game, Wazirs Durvesh Salunkhe and Ramji would get the scores level and ensure both teams would walk away with two points in the bag.
Attacker of the Match: Deepak Sahoo
Defender of the Match: Laxman Gawas
Ultimate Kho of the Match: Gowtham MK