UKK: Inspired by young guns, Chennai Quick Guns look to continue domination in semifinal against Telugu Yoddhas


Cuttack, Jan 10 (IANS) Chennai Quick Guns will aspire to keep their dominant run going when they take on Telugu Yoddhas in the second semifinal of Ultimate Kho Kho Season 2 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium in Cuttack on Thursday.

Chennai Quick Guns have arguably been the best team of the season so far. The team with the most attacking and defensive points, they also have the player of the season within their ranks in Ramji Kashyap. Ramji is both the top attacker and the top defender of this season, has the most number of sky dives as well as the most dive points.

What makes their season all the more impressive is how Chennai Quick Guns have been fuelled by some young players who are just at the start of their careers. Ramji himself is just 20. All-rounder Madan, who has put in some superb defensive displays, is just 19. Attacker Vijay Shinde is just 21 while Akash Kadam is 22.

“We will be competing against Telugu Yoddhas at the semi finals, and this year we will give our hundred percent to win against them. All the teams are very strong and competitive, so it will be tough to predict who will be winning the match. It will all depend on the teams who will make the least mistakes” said Amit Patil, captain of Chennai Quick Guns.

Telugu Yoddhas will be looking to arrest their worrying dip in form. After looking like a good bet to top the league table all season, they suffered heavy defeats in their last two matches, including a huge 20-point reverse in the last game against Gujarat Giants. They will however take solace from the fact that they did convincingly beat Chennai Quick Guns the last time these two teams met. They will look for inspiration from their captain Pratik Waikar, who is not only the top Wazir in the league this season, but has the most number of pole dives as well.

“Throughout the league stage our team has been performing very well. All the players are giving their best which is a great asset for us, the players are taking charge and helping the team to win. Our opponent during the knock-off stage is Chennai Quick Guns and for them Ramji Kashyap is the strongest player, so we will see how we can strategize for our match at the semis and we will perform well, ” said Waikar.

In the other semifinal, defending champions Odisha Juggernauts will hope to keep their impressive run going when they take on Gujarat Giants.

Odisha Juggernauts have been unbeaten over their last five games, winning a number of them convincingly. Their 35-27 victory over Telugu Yoddhas on Sunday was especially impressive. Players like Deepak Sahoo — one of the best Wazirs this season — Gowtham MK and Dilip Khandavi have all stepped up when it mattered. They will also have the luxury of playing in front of a very vocal home crowd that has been a tremendous source of support all season.

However, in Gujarat Giants, they face an opponent that convincingly routed them in the league stages. They did have their revenge in the reverse fixture, but Odisha Juggernauts will not be underestimating their opponents, going into Thursday’s encounter.

“Gujarat Giants are a good team but we are also very confident as we won the last game against them, so I am looking forward to that match,” said Odisha Juggernauts captain Dipesh More. “We are very happy with the crowd support and that is adding the extra advantage to the way we are playing so it feels really good to play in front of our home fans. We are not taking pressure, just thinking about one step at a time. Our first target is to win the semifinals and then we will think about the finals.”

Meanwhile, Gujarat Giants will look to arrest a worrying dip in form. After looking unstoppable in the early stages of the tournament, they have only registered two wins in their last five games. Players like Sanket Kadam, P Narasayya and Rajvardhan Patil have been impressive in patches, but they will need the whole team to come together and contribute if they are to make it to the final.

“Odisha Juggernauts is a strong team and it will be a high voltage match and we are working on the strategy for our next match. We are ready to play against the crowd, we know we will be playing against the crowd and we will give our best. Our focus is both on recovery and training, we are working on our drawbacks and also doing video analysis on our opponent teams” said Akshay, captain of team Gujarat Giants.



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