Vinit Kumar stole the show as Kolkata Thunderbolts registered an emphatic win at the Koramangala Indoor Stadium in Bengaluru, Karnataka in the Prime Volleyball League on Wednesday. Earning a total of 13 points, Vinit helped his side get its second win in the tournament as the Thunderbolts thumped Hyderabad Black Hawks 15-13, 15-7, 15-9, 15-12, 8-15 to climb to the top of the table with two more points.
Kolkata used the attacking prowess of Vinit, the player of the match, and the defensive mindset of Cody Caldwell to win the first set. The Black Hawks tried to rely on their defensive strengths, as SV Guru Prashanth and John Joseph combined for blocks early on. But Cody kept countering Guru’s spikes, and Vinit kept finding areas to attack.
Janshad was the unsung hero for the second set for Kolkata, as he set up Vinit and Deepesh for attacking shots. Hyderabad’s defence continued to stutter while Cody’s blocks did not allow Guru any room to trouble. Ashwal Rai joined in on the action and earned two consecutive points as Kolkata won the second set 15-7 to take a 2-0 lead in the match.
Trailing by two sets, Hyderabad looked to change strategies and became more aggressive in their approach, as Guru started finding his way into the match. But the Black Hawks did not help themselves by giving away easy points with unforced errors. Rahul and Ashwal began contributing with attacking shots, while Cody remained consistent with his taps. Rahul closed the set 15-9 in Kolkata’s favour with a monstrous spike 15-9 to confirm a win.
Hyderabad’s defence finally found its rhythm in the fourth set as John and Hemanth combined to put on two solid blocks. With a super serve from Guru, the Black Hawks took control. Cody stunned the opposition from the service line, winning four straight points. Kolkata remained unstoppable as Ashwal made another beautiful block to win the set 15-12 for Kolkata.
With a chance to win the bonus point, Kolkata maintained their energy levels in the final set, but Cody made a couple of unforced errors to give an advantage to the opposition. With a spike, Trent O’Dea gave the Hawks a four-point lead in the final set. The Thunderbolts’ front line could not contain the aggressive play from Trent and Hyderabad took a 13-7 lead. Guru’s spike ended the set 15-8 in Hyderabdad’s favour but Kolkata won the match 4-1.