Cuttack, January 2, 2024: Lightning struck twice at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium in Cuttack on Tuesday as both matches of the day in Ultimate Kho Kho Season 2 finished in ties. After Chennai Quick Guns and Odisha Juggernauts played out the second consecutive tie between them, the match between Gujarat Giants and Mumbai Khiladis finished 26-26.
The latter result saw a terrific comeback by Gujarat Giants in the final turn as they defended a narrow seven-point lead.
Ultimate Kho Kho, promoted by Amit Burman in collaboration with the Kho Kho Federation of India, became the first Indian sports league to secure Series A funding, courtesy the UK-based BNP Group.
There was little to separate Gujarat Giants and Mumbai Khiladis in the first innings — in fact, their stats mirrored the other’s. Gujarat Giants attacked first and managed ten points including two sky dive points, while the Mumbai Khiladis scored three dream run points. Then in Turn 2, Mumbai Khiladis managed ten points, including two sky dive points, while conceding three dream run points to their opponents.
The match tilted in the favour of Mumbai Khiladis in Turn 3. Their first batch of Aniket Pote, Subhasis Santra and Dhiraj Bhave frustrated the Gujarat Giants attackers, adding two dream run points to their team’s tally. The next batch of Rokeson Singh, Avik Singha and Abhishek Pathrode added one more as Gujarat Giants went into the final turn with just a seven-point lead.
Faizankha Pathan complicated the equation for Mumbai Khiladis by scoring a couple of dream run points. Then Ram Mohan frustrated the Mumbai Khiladis by remaining unconquered and earning a dream run point as well.
In an earlier match, Chennai Quick Guns and Odisha Juggernauts played out an exciting 30-30 tie at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Cuttack. The reverse fixture between these two teams had also ended in a tie.
Odisha Juggernauts’ decision to attack, after winning the toss, backfired with Chennai Quick Guns managing three dream run points in Turn 1. Laxman Gawas, from the first batch, dodged the Odisha Juggernauts attackers long enough to garner two dream run points. Then, star all-rounder Ramji Kashyap stayed unconquered, earning his thirteenth dream run point of the season.
Things went from bad to worse for Odisha Juggernauts after their first batch was dismissed without much time spent on the mat. Then Nikhil B single-handedly dragged the Odisha outfit back into the match, earning three dream run points. The match, as it headed into the second innings, was evenly poised with the Chennai Quick Guns leading 15-13.
The match tilted firmly in Odisha Juggernauts’ favour in Turn 3 as their attackers sent the first two Chennai Quick Guns batches back, with almost three-and-a-half seconds left on the clock. Ramji, then, managed his customary dream run point, leaving his team’s attackers with the task of making up a 13-point gap in the final turn.
That quest started well enough with Chennai Quick Guns managing to send back the Odisha outfits first batch with enough time on the clock. However, Rohan Singade frustrated the Chennai Quick Guns attackers, earning a vital bonus point for his team.
Wednesday will see Mumbai Khiladis take on Telugu Yoddhas in the first game. Win-less Rajasthan Warriors will face Odisha Juggernauts in the second game.
The exciting action of Ultimate Kho Kho will be telecast on Sony Sports Network’s channels and SonyLiv with live coverage of two matches daily starting at 7.30pm IST.