Gujarat Giants registered a hat-trick of wins in the inaugural edition of Ultimate Kho Kho by thrashing Mumbai Khiladis second time in a row on Wednesday.

The Ranjan Shetty-led Gujarat Giants notched up a dominating 18-point win. They had earlier defeated Mumbai Khiladis by 25 points in the league opener.

Leading from the front, Shetty scored six points for his side in the attack while Vinayak Pokarde and Nilesh Patil added eight and seven points respectively.

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For his brilliant show in attack, Ranjan was adjudged the best attacker of the match. He received the award from a special guest of the match, Avinash Sable, who won a historic silver medal in the men’s 3000m steeplechase at the Commonwealth Games held in Birmingham.

Durvesh Salunke of Mumbai Khiladis impressed in the attack by clinching 11 points for his side. He was awarded the Ultimate Kho of the Match award. Gujarat’s Suyash Gargate received the best defender of the match award.

Gujarat Giants began the match with the powerplay, activating their two wazirs, Akshay Bhangare and Abhinandhan Patil. The decision paid off as they dismissed the first batch of Mumbai Khiladis, comprising skipper Vijay Hajare, Rohan Kore and Visag S, in just two minutes and seven seconds.

With Ranjan and Pokarde dismissing two opposition defenders each, Gujarat Giants finished the first seven minutes at a 25-0 lead by capturing 10 defenders overall.

Mumbai, on the other hand, also started their defence with a powerplay and took only one minute and 30 seconds to out the first opposition batch with Gajanan Shengal taking the first two wickets, Pokarde first and then Mareppa with a brilliant pole dive. Salunke dismissed the final player of the batch, Akshay Bhangare by a pole dive.

Salunke grabbed 11 points for Mumbai Khiladis by dismissing four defenders, three of them with stunning dives.

At the innings break, scores were locked 27-27 with Gargate earning two bonus points for Gujarat in defence by spending more than 2 minutes and 30 seconds.

Gujarat Giants started the second innings with more aggression as they added an impressive 37 points to their score. Nilesh Patil took three wickets for them.

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By Dipak

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