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Tigers' run continues, posts its third straight victory

V.V. Subrahmanyam

Chennai Spikers defeats Maratha Warriors

— PHOTO: K. RAMESH BABU

TAKE THAT!K.G. Rajesh (left) leaps high to smash against Maratha Warriors, as his Chennai Spikers teammates look on, in their IVL match on Wednesday.

HYDERABAD: Yanam Tigers continued its impressive run in the final leg, recording its third straight win by defeating Kerala Killers 25-20, 25-20, 25-19, in the inaugural edition of the Indian Volley League at the Kotla Vijaya Bhaskara Reddy Indoor Stadium here on Wednesday.

It was a methodical display from Tigers, thanks primarily to yet another efficient performance by the lanky Y. Subba Rao at the net, combining well with an equally competent Ranjith Singh.

Their double-block was so good that it gave V. John Christopher and Tom Joseph the freedom to come up with some telling smashes.

Power and precision

Compounding the misery of Kerala Killers was the deft play at the net by Tom whose drops were a treat to watch. It turned out to be a deadly combination of power and precision from him which put Kerala on the defensive.

Kerala looked to G.R. Vaishnav and Shamji K. Thomas to come good and they did that but only in patches. Kerala clearly lacked team effort and the desired coordination.

This was why it frittered away the slender three-point lead it held for some time in the second set before Yanam fought back from 12-15 to take control.

There were too many gaps in the defence which in a way denied Kerala Killers' enterprising K.J. Jaylal the space to go for the big smashes. Jaylal looked good but did not get much support from his teammates.

On the other hand, for Yaman Tigers, as the match progressed, S.S. Ashok was more dominant at the net with his wonderful blocks and libero L. Sakthi Kumar came up with some outstanding efforts.

Disappointing

It was a disappointing performance by the Kerala outfit which lacked the killer instinct when it mattered most.

In the second match, Chennai Spikers came up with an all-round display to defeat Maratha Warriors 25-16, 25-17, 25-19. It was the second win from three games for Chennai and the third straight defeat for Warriors.

Too good

It was not a surprise that the double block from the experienced Chennai duo of K.J. Kapil Dev and Mandeep Singh proved just too good.

There was also S. Prabakaran whose smart play was just what his team needed as he nullified the big serves from D. Selva Prabhu with ease.

Ragesh'Trademark smashes

This combination was ideal for K.G. Ragesh to essay his trademark smashes down the centre.

The ease with which he even picked the corners close to the net was an object lesson for the few youngsters who turned up to watch the proceedings.

This was also possible because of the precision of the second pass which was rarely wasted by Chennai Spikers.

Before the match, Warriors suffered two setbacks with Gurchand Singh, its key player in the earlier games injured, and Omvir Mann pulling out due to abdominal pain.

Though T. Aziz and Jitendra Singh did try to make amends at the start of the final set, it was too late to change the course of the game as Chennai emerged a deserving winner.

The results:

Yanam Tigers bt Kerala Killers 25-20, 25-20, 25-19; Chennai Spikers bt Maratha Warriors 25-16, 25-17, 25-19, Hyderabad Chargers bt Karnataka Bulls 25-19, 25-12, 25-21.

Thursday's matches:

Karnataka Bulls vs Maratha Warriors (3.30 p.m.); Chennai Spikers vs Kerala Killers (5.30 p.m.); Hyderabad Chargers vs Yanam Tigers (7.30 p.m.).

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