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Ultimate Kho-Kho: Telugu Yoddhas finish 4th after loss to Odisha Juggernauts

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Cuttack, Jan 13 (PTI) Telugu Yoddhas settled for a fourth-place finish after going down 24-32 to defending champions Odisha Juggernauts in the Ultimate Kho-Kho here on Saturday.

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Rahul Mandal was the top scorer for the Yoddhas, with six points, followed by Vaibhav Nippane and Arun Gunki on four points each.

On the other hand, youngster Aditya Ganpule collected three 'Dream Run' points while defending.

The Yoddhas won the toss in the third-place play-off match and decided to attack in Turn 1 of the game, while the in-form Yoddhas skipper drew first blood.

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However, the Yoddhas took more time than usual to eliminate the Juggernauts' first batch, as the latter earned three crucial points with the help of 'Dream Runs', narrowing the gap in the scorecard. The Yoddhas finished Turn 1 on a slow note, with the score 10-3 in their favour.

In Turn 2, the Yoddhas displayed superb defensive performance when their first batch spent almost five impressive minutes on the mat, earning them four points through 'Dream Runs'.

The defenders of the Yoddhas were brilliant on the mat in this turn, restricting the hosts to earn just 10 points, as the turn ended with the score 14-13, marginally favouring the Yoddhas midway through the match.

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The Yoddhas entered Turn 3 intending to set a maximum target for their opponents and began slowly. However, their attackers failed to capitalize on the momentum gained from the last turn.

Nonetheless, the Juggernauts' attackers employed the same strategy and gameplay, preventing their opponents from earning maximum points while scoring three 'Dream Run' points. The turn ended with the score still favouring the Yoddhas 24-16.

The final turn of the game required exceptional performance from the Yoddhas' defenders to defend the target. But Odisha took just twelve seconds to eliminate the first defender of the Yoddhas.

Telugu's first batch spent two minutes and 41 seconds on the mat before being eliminated, allowing Odisha to edge closer to their target.

Thereon, the hosts were successful in their job of overcoming the lead as they walked away with a win, as the scoreboard read 32-24 in their favour. PTI AYG PDS PDS

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