Telugu Yoddhas, the GMR Group-owned team, went down narrowly 29-31 to Chennai Quick Guns in a nail-biting second semi-final of the Ultimate Kho Kho Season 2, which was played here at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium.
Finishing as runners-up in the inaugural season, Telugu Yoddhas missed their second consecutive final berth today by just two points in the action-packed semi-final, setting up a third-place clash against Odisha Juggernauts on the finals day. The team's captain, Pratik Waikar, was awarded the Best Attacker of the Match for his sensational performance, scoring the highest 14 points in the game.
Telugu Yoddhas will play their third-place game against Odisha Juggernauts on January 13, 2024 (Saturday). The game will be telecast LIVE and exclusive on the Sony Sports Network and can be streamed LIVE on the SonyLIV platform from 7:30 PM onwards.
Telugu Yoddhas won the toss and chose to attack first. Captain Pratik Waikar set the tone for his team by swiftly eliminating the league's best defender, Ramji Kashyap, within the first 45 seconds of the game. The in-form captain of Telugu Yoddhas, who also plays the role of Wazir, dominated the game's first turn against Chennai Quick Guns, ensuring his team took a commanding lead. With 2 Sky Dives and 3 Pole Dives, Telugu Yoddhas concluded Turn 1 with a scorecard reading 14-2, with Pratik contributing 10 crucial points. However, Chennai managed to earn 2 Dream Run points in Turn 1.
Turn 2 commenced with Telugu Yoddhas on the defensive side, maintaining their dominance. Their first batch spent four minutes and seven seconds on the mat before getting eliminated, earning 3 crucial Dream Run points and extending their lead on the scorecard. Displaying their defensive prowess, the Yoddhas ensured their opponents never closed the gap, allowing them to earn only 12 points before Turn 2 concluded with the scorecard reading 17-14, still favouring the Yoddhas.
Telugu Yoddhas entered Turn 3 as the attacking side to set the maximum target for their opponents. Executing the same game plan and strategy, the Yoddhas took the mat, with the unstoppable Pratik Waikar taking just 4 seconds to eliminate his first opponent in this turn. It took only two minutes and 10 seconds to return Batch 1 of Chennai to the dugout. However, the Quick Guns staged a comeback when their defender earned three crucial points with the help of a Dream Run, narrowing the gap on the scorecard. The Yoddhas scored 12 points, concluding Turn 3 with a scorecard of 29-17 in their favour.
The Yoddhas needed to defend the twelve-point lead they had gained to enter the finals, and their defenders left no stone unturned to spend as much time as they could on the mat, preventing their opponents from closing in on the scorecard. The first batch spent 2 minutes and 31 seconds on the mat before getting eliminated. In the final minutes, making the game action-packed and intense, Prasad Rayde missed out on a dream run point by just 6 seconds. Despite their valiant efforts throughout the game, the Yoddhas went down 29-31 to the Chennai Quick Guns.