Odisha Juggernauts continued their sensational performance to clinch a sixth successive victory by beating Telugu Yoddhas while Gujarat Giants escaped with a narrow win over Rajasthan Warriors in the inaugural edition of Ultimate Kho Kho at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Mahalunge, Pune, Maharashtra on Sunday.
Both teams have already secured their place in the playoffs.
Suraj Lade grabbed four defenders to score 10 points, while Vishal displayed tremendous defensive skills to spend 3.53 minutes on the mat, adding six bonus points for the Odisha Juggernauts, who won by nine points with a score of 48-39.
For Rajasthan Warriors, Akshay Ganpule claimed four points brilliantly with 3.24-minute defence in the crucial final turn to level the scores but with just seven seconds left, Nilesh Patil dismissed him to hand a thrilling 42-40 win.
Abhinandhan Patil scored 13 points in Gujarat Giants’ win while Hrushikesh Murchavade struck 17 points for Rajasthan Warriors.
Rajasthan Warriors, who were searching for their maiden win, put up a strong challenge against Gujarat Giants. However, despite resistance from the opposition, Gujarat Giants managed to take a narrow one-point lead with a score of 20-19 after the first innings.
Rajasthan Warriors, however, could manage to add only 16 points in the third turn to take 36-22 lead but Gujarat Giants fought back well to complete a convincing win.
Earlier, Telugu Yoddhas started off the match aggressively as Mohite gave them four points within a fraction of seconds. Switching positions, captain Pratik Waikar added two more bonus points to the tally with defence of 3.59 minutes as Telugu Yoddhas took a 22-18 lead in the first innings.
Odisha Juggernauts’ defenders Vishal and Subhasis Santra showcased exceptional defensive skills to allow only 19 points to Telugu Yoddhas in the third turn. While Vishal defended for 3.53 minutes, scoring six points, Santra added two points for his stay of 2.42 minutes.
Table-toppers Odisha Juggernauts, however, threw caution to the wind in the crucial final turn and captured the opposition nine players, scoring 22 points to register their sixth win on the trot.
Gowtham MK was the other top performer for the winning side with nine points while from Telugu Yoddhas, Adarsh Mohite impressed with nine points.
On Monday, Chennai Quick Guns will lock horns with Mumbai Khiladis while Telugu Yoddhas take on Gujarat Giants.
Ultimate Kho Kho, India’s first-ever franchise-based Kho-Kho league, is promoted by Amit Burman in collaboration with the Kho Kho Federation of India.