Pune (Maharashtra) [India], August 17 (ANI): Gujarat Giants registered a hat-trick of wins in the inaugural edition of Ultimate Kho Kho by thrashing Mumbai Khiladis second time in a row at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Mahalunge, Pune, Maharashtra on Wednesday.
Ranjan Shetty-led Gujarat Giants notched up a dominating 18-point win. They had earlier defeated Mumbai Khiladis by 25 points in the league opener.
Leading from the front, Shetty scored six points for his side in the attack while Vinayak Pokarde and Nilesh Patil added eight and seven points respectively.
For his brilliant show in attack, Ranjan was adjudged Best Attacker of the Match.
He received the award from a special guest of the match, Avinash Sable, who won the historic silver medal in the men's 3000m steeplechase at the recent Commonwealth Games held in Birmingham. Sable also enjoyed the thrilling action of the league.
Durvesh Salunke of Mumbai Khiladis impressed in the attack by clinching 11 points for his side. He was awarded with the Ultimate Kho of the Match award. Gujarat's Suyash Gargate received the Best Defender of the Match award.
Gujarat Giants began the match with powerplay, activating their two wazirs, Akshay Bhangare and Abhinandhan Patil. The decision paid off as they dismissed the first batch of Mumbai Khiladis, comprising skipper Vijay Hajare, Rohan Kore and Visag S, in just two minutes and seven seconds.
With Ranjan and Pokarde dismissing two opposition defenders each, Gujarat Giants finished the first seven minutes at 25-0 lead by capturing 10 defenders overall.
Mumbai, on the other hand, also started their defence with a powerplay and took only one minute and 30 seconds to out the first opposition batch with Gajanan Shengal taking first two wickets, Pokarde first and then Mareppa with a brilliant pole dive. Salunke dismissed the final player of the batch, Akshay Bhangare by a pole dive.
Salunke grabbed 11 points for Mumbai Khiladis by dismissing four defenders, three of them with stunning dives.
At the innings break, scores were locked 27-27 with Gargate earning two bonus points for Gujarat in defence by spending more than 2 minutes and 30 seconds.
Gujarat Giants started the second innings with more aggression as they added an impressive 37 points to their score. Nilesh Patil took three wickets for them.
Though Mumbai gave their all in an attempt to recover but managed to score only 21 points in the final seven minutes as Gujarat Giants completed over Mumbai Khiladis in the league and also extended their unbeaten run in the league.
Later tonight, Telugu Yoddhas will look to continue their winning run while Chennai Quick Guns will hunt for their maiden win of the league when they play the second match of Day 4.
India's first-ever franchise-based Kho-Kho league has been telecasted live in five languages on Sony Sports Network.
Chennai Quick Guns, Gujarat Giants, Mumbai Khiladis, Odisha Juggernauts, Rajasthan Warriors and Telugu Yoddhas are the six franchises battling it out for the title over a period of 22 days.
Tomorrow will be the rest day while on Friday Rajasthan Warriors and Mumbai Khiladis will clash with Odisha Juggernauts and Chennai Quick Guns respectively in the first and second match.
The Final is scheduled for September 4.
With two matches each day, live coverage begins at 7 pm IST. (ANI)