Pune (Maharashtra) [India], August 14 (ANI): Gujarat Giants kickstarted their campaign with an impressive win against Mumbai Khiladis by 25 points as the inaugural edition of Ultimate Kho Kho began with a bang at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Mahalunge, Pune, Maharashtra on Sunday.
Gujarat notched up 69 points while Mumbai managed to get 44 points in the match as India's homegrown sport witnessed a historic revamped debut from mud to mat in the packed stadium.
The traditional dhol was played as India's first-ever franchise-based Kho-Kho league was inaugurated with a packed stadium in the presence of Tenzing Niyogi, CEO & League Commissioner, Ultimate Kho Kho, Sudhanshu Mittal, President, Kho Kho Federation of India and MS Tyagi, General Secretary, Kho Kho Federation of India, Prakash Javadekar, former Union Minister alongside owners and representatives of six franchises, Sanjay Jupudi and Srinath Chittoori (Chennai Quick Guns), Satyam Trivedi (Gujarat Giants), Janhavi Dhariwal Balan, Punit Balan and Badshah (Mumbai Khiladis), Lilan Sahu (Odisha Juggernauts), Jigar Shah (Rajasthan Warriors) and GM Ruchir (Telugu Yoddhas).
Gujarat captain Ranjan Shetty won the toss and chose to defend. Mumbai started with the powerplay, activating two wazirs--Durvesh Salunke and Avik Singha--when the batch consisting of Vinayak Pokarde, Akshay Bhangare and Mareppa took the field. However, within less than two minutes, they successfully managed to out all three of them.
At the end of the first turn of the match, Mumbai Khiladis were dominated with a 22-2 lead.
Coming in the first batch, Rohan Kore tested Gujarat's attack in the second turn as he defended for three minutes and two seconds. However, after that Gujarat quickly made a comeback to end the first innings at a 26-24 lead.
Mumbai Khiladis recovered to regain the lead with 20 points in the first seven minutes of the second innings that put them ahead at 44-30 score.
In the decisive final turn, Gujarat played brilliantly to pocket massive 39 points to pocket the match comfortably.
The league has been presenting this indigenous sport in a modern avatar coupled with a tailor-made format and exciting innovations such as wazir and powerplay. Ultimate Kho Kho is promoted by Amit Burman in collaboration with the Kho Kho Federation of India.
On the second day of the league, Rajasthan Warriors and Odisha Juggernauts will kickstart their campaigns as they will take on Mumbai Khiladis and Chennai Quick Guns respectively.
Six franchises, Chennai Quick Guns, Gujarat Giants, Mumbai Khiladis, Odisha Juggernauts, Rajasthan Warriors and Telugu Yoddhas, will battle it out for the Season 1 title over a period of 22 days.
The exciting action of Season 1 will be telecasted in five different languages on Sony Sports Network. There will be two matches played each day with live coverage starting at 7:00 PM IST.
In Season 1, all the teams will play twice against each other twice during the league stage with Top-4 teams progressing into the knockout stage, which will be played in a playoffs format. (ANI)