Odisha Juggernauts have emerged as the first finalists of Ultimate Kho Kho 2022 as they defeated the Gujarat Giants in Qualifier 1 on Friday (September 2). The Giants entered the game as the favorites as they topped the Ultimate Kho Kho 2022 points table.
However, the Odisha Juggernauts brought their 'A' game and defeated the Gujarat Giants 57-43. Playing at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune, Gujarat captain Nilesh Patil won the toss and decided to defend first.
The Juggernauts' attackers showed no mercy to the Giants' defenders and did not allow them to complete a single Dream Run in the first turn. Odisha's attackers scored 23 points in the first turn and helped their team gain a 23-0 lead.
In response, the Gujarat Giants conceded a couple of Dream Runs to their rivals. They did manage 18 points while attacking but ended the first half trailing 18-27.
Odisha continued their splendid form in the attacking section and earned 24 more points in their second turn. Gujarat's defenders completed a two-point Dream Run but Odisha's dominant attack meant that the Giants had to score at least 32 points in their final turn to win the match.
The Gujarat Giants huffed and puffed but could only reduce the deficit to 14 points. They eventually lost the match 57-43.
Gujarat Giants have one more chance to qualify for the Ultimate Kho Kho 2022 final
Despite losing the first match in the playoffs, Gujarat are still alive in the race to the final. However, they now find themselves in a do-or-die situation. The Giants will square off against the in-form Telugu Yoddhas in Qualifier 2 tomorrow evening (September 3).
Earlier today, the Yoddhas beat the Chennai Quick Guns 61-43 in the Eliminator. It will be exciting to see which team joins Odisha in the final.