Suraj Lande scored 13 points as the Odisha Juggernauts booked their place in the final of the inaugural edition of Ultimate Kho Kho after beating Gujarat Giants 57-43 at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Mahalunge, Pune, Maharashtra on Friday.
In Qualifier 2, the Giants will play the Telugu Yoddhas who beat Chennai Quick Guns 61-43 in the first eliminator on the back of captain Pratik Waikar’s brilliant performance.
Leading from the front, Waikar defended for 6.43 minutes, including 3.44 minutes of first innings. Adarsh Mohit supported him well by scoring 16 points in the attack as he dismissed six players, four of them with dives.
Amit Patil, with a defence of 3.59 minutes, and Madan (8 points) performed well for Chennai Quick Guns but couldn’t save their side from a 18-point defeat.
Aiming to reach the final, Telugu Yoddhas will play the loser of qualifier 1, which will be played later tonight wherein season’s Top-2 teams—Gujarat Giants and Odisha Juggernauts will lock horns.
Qualifier 2 will be played on Saturday while the final is scheduled on Sunday.
Waikar opened the account for Telugu Yoddhas when he dismissed B Raju with a dive. However, in-form Ramji Kashyap (3.14 mins) and Amit Patil (3.59 mins) scored four bonus points together for Chennai Quick Guns while the latter added two more bonus points after extending his stay for 45 seconds. Telugu Yoddhas ended the opening turn at 19-6 lead.
Switching sides, Waikar added six bonus points for Telugu Yoddhas during his defence of three minutes and 44 seconds but Chennai Quick Guns managed to bag 20 points to keep themselves ahead with a close 26-25 score after the first innings.
After a tough-fought first innings, Telugu Yoddhas looked too aggressive. They captured 13 defenders, adding 34 points which was enough to take the game away from Chennai Quick Guns’ reach with 59-26 lead.
Patil-led Chennai Quick Guns, though, gave their all but Waikar once again showcased exceptional defence skills to add two bonus points. His 2.59-minute defence not only restricted oppositions to just 17 points in the final turn but also secured an easy win for his side.