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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Chennai Quick Guns to take on Gujarat Giants in Ultimate Kho Kho final

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Chennai Quick Guns reached the final of Ultimate Kho Kho Season 2 with a 31-29 victory over Telugu Yoddhas in the second semifinal at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Thursday night.

They will take on Gujarat Giants, who beat defending champions Odisha Juggernauts in the first semifinal.

Despite Telugu Yoddhas seizing an early advantage, Chennai Quick Guns clawed their way back into the match with an impressive attacking performance in the final turn.

The semifinals featured a number of guests, including Shri VK Pandian, chairman of 5T and Nabin Odisha, Shri Vineel Krishna, Sports Secretary, Odisha and Nasreen, the Arjuna Award-winning Indian Kho Kho team captain.

“Odisha is at the forefront of promotion and development of sports including indigenous sports like Kho Kho. Apart from having a franchise in Ultimate Kho Kho, it is also setting up a high performance centre for Kho Kho with AM/NS India,” said VK Pandian on the occasion.

All eyes were on the in-form Ramji Kashyap going into Turn 1, but it was another big name player who grabbed all the attention. Telugu Yoddhas skipper Pratik Waikar was in regal form, scoring a whopping ten points for his team in turn.

Chennai Quick Guns’ first batch — Ramji, Vijay Shinde and Madan — earned the customary couple of dream run points. But that was all that the Telugu Yoddhas attackers led by Waikar allowed their opponents. At the end of the turn, Telugu Yoddhas had a 14-2 advantage.

Telugu Yoddhas consolidated the advantage in Turn 2 with their first batch of Waikar, Aditya Ganpule and Avdhut Patil staying on the mat for four minutes and seven seconds, and getting three dream run points. The first innings ended with the score at 17-14 in favour of Telugu Yoddhas.

Waikar continued his superb show in Turn 3, taking just four seconds to send back his first victim. The first Chennai Quick Guns batch lasted just two minutes and 11 seconds. That allowed Chennai Quick Guns’ prime batch of Ramji, Shinde and Madan to come on the mat. They did their job, spending four minutes and 18 seconds on the mat and earning three dream run points. Telugu Yoddhas held a 29-17 lead going into the final turn.

The Chennai Quick Guns attackers however came to the party in Turn 4, sending back the first two Telugu Yoddhas batches in quick time and levelling the scores. And with Laxman Gawas sending back Avdhut Patil, the Chennai Quick Guns had the points they needed.

Earlier, Gujarat Giants marched into the final, overcoming defending champions Odisha Juggernauts 29-27 in the first semifinal.

Gujarat Giants dominated the first innings as their opponents seemingly switched off. Odisha Juggernauts put in an improved show in the second half, but the nine-point advantage they conceded in the first proved too much to overcome. Suyash Gargate and Sanket Kadam were the pick of the attackers for Gujarat Giants with six points each.

Odisha Juggernauts made a nightmare start to the match. They not only lost their review for the first innings within a matter of minutes but conceded five dream run points to the first Gujarat Giants batch of Suyash Gargate, Deepak Madhav and Shubham Thorat. With one member of the next batch staying unconquered, Odisha Juggernauts led 10-5 after the first turn.

Things went from bad to worse for them in Turn 2. The Gujarat Giants attackers were rampant, not letting their opponents have a single dream run point. At the end of the first innings, their team had a nine-point advantage with the scores standing at 19-10 in their favour.

Odisha Juggernauts, though, came back strongly in Turn 3. They sent back the first two Gujarat Giants batches in just over four minutes. The likes of Dipesh More and Avinash Desai suddenly seemed infused with energy. That seemed too little too late though as, despite an impressive comeback, Odisha Juggernauts went into the final turn with a slender five-point lead. The Gujarat Giants attackers overcame that with ease in the final turn.

The exciting action of Ultimate Kho Kho will be telecast on Sony Sports Network’s channels and SonyLiv with live coverage of two matches starting at 7.30pm IST.

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