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 at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex here on Saturday.
After a 23-point win in the qualifier 2, the Pratik Waikar-led side will now take on Odisha Juggernauts in the blockbuster final on Sunday. Odisha Juggernauts advanced to the final after defeating Telugu Yoddhas in the qualifier 1.
Arun Gunki impressed in the attack by scoring 16 points for the winning team along with Prajwal K.H, who added 14 points, dismissing five players.
For Gujarat Giants, skipper Nilesh Patil was the top performer with eight points.
The season’s leading attacking side, Telugu Yoddhas 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 defence 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, Telugu Yoddhas looked in a 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 1 of India’s first-ever franchise-based Kho-Kho league, held their nerves in the last seven minutes of the game and gave away only 15 points.
Earlier, Telugu Yoddhas started the match with 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 the power play, 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 strong teams, Gujarat Giants, had earlier finished on the top of the points table in the league stage. They took home INR 30 lakh as prize money for their third-place finish in the playoffs.
For their third-place finish, Gujarat Giants. With INR 2 crore as the prize pool, the champion team will be awarded with INR 1 crore along with the coveted trophy while the second-placed team will take home INR 50 lakh.