A fierce ‘Battle of Fire and Ice’ ended with the Gujarat Giants securing a thumping 34-29 victory over defending champion Odisha Juggernauts in Ultimate Kho Kho Season 2 on Saturday.
The Giants would reclaim the top spot from Chennai Quick Guns following their success over Odisha Juggernauts, while the current holders remained third with eight points from four games.
Gujarat Giants won the toss and chose to attack, which raised a few eyebrows. Having dismissed three batches despite conceding one Dream Run from Odisha Juggernauts, the Giants stamped their authority with an 18-1 lead at the end of Turn 1.
History would be made in Turn 2, as Gujarat Giants would become the first team to preserve their lead while defending in Ultimate Kho Kho Season 2. The credit would go to batch 1, fronted by Deepak Madhav, who kept an active time of 4:32 to maintain their 11-point cushion. The score would be 22-11 in favour of the Giants going into half-time.
In the second innings, the Odisha Juggernauts would turn the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium in Cuttack into a Colosseum. They would notch a four-minute Dream Run on their own - thanks to Rohan Shingade - to put some pressure on the Gujarat Giants in Turn 3.
However, having set the tone from the start of the game, Gujarat Giants left no room for the Odisha Juggernauts to stage a comeback in Turn 4. Attacking in the last Turn, the Juggernauts tried to trim down the 19-point deficit from Turn 3, but the intricate strategy of the Gujarat Giants think tank and the players meant the match would end with the Giants maintaining a seven-point lead and a 34-27 winning scoreline.
While Odisha Juggernauts will quickly look to put tonight’s disappointing result when they entertain Telugu Yoddhas on December 31, table-toppers Gujarat Giants will once again put their unbeaten status to the test as they go head-to-head with Chennai Quick Guns.
Best Attacker of the Match: P Narasayya
Best Defender of the Match: Gowtham MK
Ultimate Kho of the Match: Shubham Thorat