Kolkata Thunderbolts produced a brilliant all-round display to outsmart Ahmedabad Defenders with a 15-13, 15-10, 15-12 win in the final of the inaugural Rupay Prime Volleyball League championship at GMC Balayogi Stadium (Gachibowli) here on Sunday.
Dominating from the word go, Thunderbolts thrived on the amazing power and precision of the trio K. Rahul, Vinit Kumar, captain Ashwal Rai in attack and Mathew August and Mohd Riyazuddin putting up a great show in defence.
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Defenders was caught on the wrong foot repeatedly, not just with the striking prowess of the fancied opponent but the smart play of someone like Vinit coming up with big serve, rushing to the net to catch the defence on the wrong foot either with his power or smartly rolling the ball over the defenders into the vacant spots.
Ironically, neither Angamuthu and Shon T. John of Defenders was allowed to showcase their acknowledged skills as the Thunderbolts defence especially libero B.S.Hari Prasad was equal to the task.
Thunderbolts won the first set despite late resistance from the rivals and if Defenders had hopes of coming back into the game in the second set, it was not to be as it was up against Rahul who was all over them - picking up the angles from left-corner of the court for his big spikes.
Quite fittingly, it was an acrobatic retrieve by Hari which saw ‘player of the final’ Vinit produce the finishing touches at a critical moment and help Thunderbolts win the second set too.
Though captain Muthuswamy and M. Manoj combined well for Defenders early in the third set, they lacked the support of the teammates even as the star spiker Angamuthu continued to be off-colour and even Shon was denied a chance to make a statement.
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It was obvious that Defenders were up against an opposition which had players with superb skills and the ability to rise to the occasion.
And, it was a Mathew spike which saw Thunderbolts win the third set and the match too in style triggering off celebrations in the camp.
Special awards were given to Vinit Kumar (player of the final, most valuable player of the league), Shon T John (fantasy player of the season), Angamuthu (best spiker), John Joseph of Black Hawks (best blocker), S.V. Guru Prasad of Black Hawks (emerging player).