Telugu Yoddhas, the GMR Group-owned franchise, went down 22-42 to Gujarat Giants in their final league game of the Ultimate Kho Kho Season 2, which is being played here at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium.
Telugu Yoddhas, who have already qualified for the playoffs, took the mat today without their experienced and in-form squad, opting to test the strength of their reserve bench. However, they will remain fourth in the league standings. For the Yoddhas, Vaibhav Nippane and Arun Gunki top scored with six points each, while Lipun Mukhi scored four on the night. Arun Gunki, who scored four exceptional Dream Run points from the game, received the Best Defender of the Match award.
Telugu Yoddhas lost the toss and were asked to attack first by the Gujarat Giants skipper Akshay Bhangare. Coach Vikas gave the reserve players a chance, as the side had already qualified for the semifinals. Gujarat Giants started Turn 1 with the power play, and Arun Gunki gave the Yoddhas the first touch point. Batch 1 was eliminated with 1:49 minutes left, but not before Ram Mohan scored five dream run points for the Giants. Yoddhas scored two more touch points to end Turn 1 with the score reading 8-5 in their favour.
Arun Gunki, Prasad Patil and Lipun Mukhi were Batch 1 who started Turn 2 in which Lipun and Prasad were tagged out with ease, but Arun Gunki put in a solo act, scoring four dream runs to give Batch 2 just 2:09 minutes to survive. Batch 2 could not stay on the mat long as all three were eliminated in 1:27 minutes. Batch 3 survived the rest of the 42 seconds, but not before one defender was tagged out. At the end of the first innings, the Yoddhas trailed 12-19.
Batch 1 of Gujarat Giants were eliminated with 3:29 minutes remaining in Turn 3, but the Yoddhas conceded one dream run. Batch 2 of the Giants also scored two dream runs courtesy of Ravi Vasave before his co-defenders were tagged out. The Giants could tie the match after Turn 3, with the scores reading 22-22.
The Yoddhas needed to defend with all their might in Turn 4, but Batch 1 was eliminated in just 1:47 minutes, giving the Giants a six-point lead. The Giants turned the pace, stopping Batch 2 in 52 seconds, increasing their lead to double digits. Batch three of the Yoddhas were eliminated with still 1:50 minutes left in the Turn as Gujarat swelled their lead. Batch 4 survived the remaining time to end the game on 22-42.