Telugu Yoddhas, the GMR Group-owned franchisee, emerged victorious in their last game of 2023, defeating defending champions and hosts Odisha Juggernauts by a lone point. Playing their fifth game of the Ultimate Kho Kho Season 2 at Jawahar Lal Nehru Indoor Stadium, Cuttack, Telugu Yoddhas displayed their fighting spirit with a nail-biting 29-28 win with the help of their defenders.
For the Yoddhas, captain Pratik Waikar led from the front and earned the highest 10 points in the game, earning him the Best Attacker of the Match award. Spending 2.26 minutes on the mat, the Yoddhas defender, Aditya Ganpule, was adjudged as the Best Defender of the Match.
Telugu Yoddhas will next play against Rajasthan Warriors on January 1, 2024 (Monday). The game will be telecast LIVE and exclusively on the Sony Sports Network and can be streamed LIVE on the SonyLIV platform from 8:30 PM onwards.
After winning the toss, Odisha Juggernauts decided to defend first. Telugu Yoddhas' attacker, Rudra Thopate, drew first blood in the game with a running touch. However, the hosts' defenders completed a Dream Run in the initial minutes of Turn 1, earning them a crucial point while defending. After that, Telugu Yoddhas made some quick points through running touches and pole dives but conceded two more Dream Run points to the Juggernauts' defenders, ending Turn 1 with a scorecard reading 10-2 in their favour.
Telugu Yoddhas, however, staged a strong comeback when they entered Turn 2 as the defending side. Their first and most experienced batch spent 4 minutes and 42 seconds on the mat, earning 4 crucial points through Dream Run. The Yoddhas' defenders showcased their brilliance on the mat and prevented the hosts from capitalizing on the momentum they gained from Turn 1. This effort helped them trail by just one point at the end of the first inning, with the scorecard reading 14-15 in favour of Odisha.
The second innings kicked off with Turn 3, where Telugu Yoddhas again took the mat as the attacking side, implementing a completely different strategy. This time, they relied heavily on Sky Dives and Pole Dives. This is in contrast to Turn 1, where Yoddhas earned 10 points most through running touches, but they secured 14 points in this turn. Telugu Yoddhas set the target of 13 points for the opponents in the last turn, as Turn 3 ended with a score line of 28-16 in Yoddhas's favour.
The final turn of the game, Turn 4, began with the Yoddhas aiming to defend the target they had set for their opponents. Odisha needed 13 points to overtake the Yoddhas, which seemed achievable before the start of the final turn. However, Yoddhas' defenders showcased their acrobatic skills, successfully keeping their opponent attackers at bay while defending a low total. Telugu Yoddhas effectively defended their total and secured a nail-biting 1-point victory, concluding the encounter with a score of 29-28.