Gujarat Giants Crowned Champions of Ultimate Kho Kho Season 2 after victory over Chennai Quick Guns
Gujarat Giants became champions of Ultimate Kho Kho Season 2 with a 31-26 victory over Chennai Quick Guns at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Cuttack on Saturday.
Despite battling bouts of inconsistency during the league phase, Gujarat Giants were superb on the day as they closed off the contest in the first innings itself. Chennai Quick Guns, who were favourites coming into the match, will rue their failure to get going from the onset. That meant that a superb comeback in the final turn was not enough.
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. In attendance at Saturday’s final was Puri’s Member of Parliament Shri Pinaki Misra.
“I watch Kho Kho on television but being here live is electrifying,” said Shri Misra. “Watching this live, you realise how difficult the game is, but also how simple the game is. It is fascinating that these boys who come from relatively less privileged backgrounds are doing such a marvellous job.”
Gujarat Giants took home a purse of Rs 1 crore while Chennai Quick Guns received Rs 50 lakhs. Odisha Juggernauts, who finished third by defeating Telugu Yoddhas earlier, received Rs 30 lakhs. Sanket Kadam was adjudged the best attacker of the match while Vijay Shinde won the best defender of the match award. Suyash Gargate won the Ultimate Kho of the Match award.
Gujarat Giants made a superb start to the match, sending back Chennai Quick Guns’ prime batch of Ramji Kashyap, Madan and Vijay Shinde in no time. They embraced the strategy of targeting Ramji early and that proved to be a masterstroke as the latter failed to last a minute. Madan also went back relatively early. While Shinde held on for longer, he was unable to secure a dream run point for his team. Chennai Quick Guns’ second batch did manage a dream run point, but with the score at 14-1, it was Gujarat Giants who held the advantage going into Turn 2.
They then consolidated that advantage with a superb defensive display. The first Gujarat Giants defensive batch of Suyash Gargate, Shubham Thorat and Deepak Madhav delivered five dream run points, lasting five minutes and six seconds on the mat. With only three members of the next batch staying unconquered, Gujarat Giants held a huge 12-point lead going into the second innings.
Chennai Quick Guns managed to secure three bonus points in Turn 3 but it was too little too late. With an 19-point deficit to make up in the final turn, they needed a miracle.
That miracle almost came. Chennai Quick Guns made a terrific start to Turn 4, sending back the first Gujarat Giants batch in just a minute and 17 seconds. The next batch too was dispatched fast giving the Chennai Quick Guns a glimmer of hope. But Sanket Kadam stayed unbeaten and secured the trophy for his team.
Earlier, Odisha Juggernauts secured third place by defeating Telugu Yoddhas 32-24. It was Telugu Yoddhas who held a slender 14-13 advantage at the end of the first innings. But a good Turn 3 by Odisha Juggernauts, which saw them earn 3 defensive bonus points followed by a superb show by their attackers in the final turn, saw them finish the match on top