Telugu Yoddhas secured their place in the final after recording a commanding 67-44 victory against Gujarat Giants in the inaugural edition of Ultimate Kho Kho in Pune on Saturday.
After a 23-point win in Qualifier 2, Pratik Waikar-led side will now take on Odisha Juggernauts in the final on Sunday. Odisha advanced to the final after defeating Telugu Yoddhas in Qualifier 1.
Arun Gunki impressed in the attack by scoring 16 points for the winning team along with Prajwal KH, who added 14 points, dismissing five playesr.
For Gujarat Giants, skipper Nilesh Patil was the top performer with eight points.
Telugu Yoddhas, the season’s leading attacking side, dominated the match with their all-round show.
Trailing at 21-39, Gujarat Giants tried recovering in the third turn with Abhinandhan Patil showcasing exceptional defensive technique. His stay of 4.26 minutes not only earned eight bonus points for his side but also restricted Telugu Yoddhas to just 22 points.
However, despite Patil’s heroics, the Yoddhas looked in commanding position, leading by 61-29 at the start of the final turn.
Telugu Yoddhas, the first team to claim 100 defending points in the season, held their nerves in the last seven minutes of the game and gave away only 15 points.
Earlier, the Yoddhas started off the match with an attacking intent as they clinched 37 points in the first turn by capturing 13 opposition defenders. Arun Gunki dismissed five players to score 14 points for them.
Switching positions, Gujarat Giants began the attack with powerplay, activating two wazirs, but Deepak Madhav denied them easy points during his defence of two minutes 46 seconds, adding two bonus points for his side.
Though Gujarat Giants managed to add 21 points, Telugu Yoddhas ended the first innings with a 39-21 lead.
One of the league’s strongest teams, Gujarat Giants had earlier finished at the top of the points table in the league stage. They earned Rs 30 lakh as prize money for their third-place finish in the playoffs. With Rs 2 crore as the prize pool, the champion team will be awarded Rs 1 crore while the second-placed team will get Rs 50 lakh.