With a display that was as delectable as it was decisive, Chennai Spikers emerged triumphant in the second leg of the Panimalar-SAIL-Indian Volley League on Wednesday.
That the outcome had to be decided by the point quotient system only underlined the closeness of the combat in a tournament in which Chennai Spikers lost the two opening games.
Chennai Spikers, Hyderabad Chargers and Karnataka Bulls all ended up with six points, each necessitating the point quotient system.
Chennai Spikers ,which led the table with 1.059 PQ at close on the penultimate day, concluded the event with a point quotient of 1.084 to win the Daily Thanthi Trophy.
Second at the last leg in Bangalore, the Chennai team went one up in this edition. Two more legs remain at Yanam and Hyderbad in the coming weeks.
In the deciding contest, it was Chennai Spikers all the way. Its domination was absolute, thanks largely to the superb show of the spare looking Prabhakaran. He never put his foot wrong, and smashed with telling effect. Many of his well angled finishes brooked no reply.
Kapil Dev, as the setter of outstanding merit, lived up to his class, serving passes beautifully to Manmeet and Navjit to complete the demolition job. The report will be incomplete without the mention of the Libero Kanakaraj, and the electrifying returns of the seasoned captain, Nadarajan. The sparkle in Yanam Tigers was brief. Barring the effervescent Tom Joseph, none in the Tigers' squad showed even an iota of consistency.
Exemplifying the ingredients that constitute the essence of fortitude, Karnataka Bulls produced a stunning performance. Rallying after losing two games, the Bulls winkled out Kerala Killers in a five-game duel.
So comfortable were the Killers in the first two sets that few gave hope for the Bulls to recoup. But recoup it did, with professional zeal, thanks to the outstanding display of Sanjay Kumar and Shelton Moses, supported well by Karthik and Vikram.
With the harmony effected both in the defence and attack, the Bulls neutralised all the astute work of Vaishnav near the net, and the all-round assault of Naveen Raja Jacob.
Touching rhythm from the start of the third set, the Bulls built up the lead steadily to retain the initiative almost throughout. In the fourth game also, the Bulls held on gamely, despite the determined fight by the rival. From 16-all, it was touch and go until 25-all, before the Bulls had the last laugh at 27-25. In the decider, the command of the Bulls was absolute.
The ease with which Hyderabad Chargers brushed aside the challenge from Maratha Warriors came as a bit of surprise. The Warriors went down without a trace of a fight against the combined work of the Chargers — for whom Sube Singh played a stellar role at the net.
The Hyderabad Chargers finished second in the table and claimed the Panimalar Trophy, while Karnataka Bulls won the Kali Mark Trophy.
Mr. Sivanthi Adityan, president, Volleyball Federation of India, presided over the prize distribution function.
Naveen Raja Jacob of Kerala Killers was declared the Player of the tournament and was awarded the Hero Honda (Splendor) motor-cycle presented by the Ananda Bhavan, Adyar.
The results: Hyderabad Chargers bt Maratha Warriors 25-21, 25-20, 25-17; Karnataka Bulls bt Kerala Killers 16-25, 13-25, 25-23, 27-25, 15-11; Chennai Spikers bt Yanam Tigers 25-23, 25-19, 25-19.
Final positions: 1.Chennai Chargers 5-3-2-6 (Points Quotient: 1.084); 2.Hyderabad Chargers 5-3-2-6 (PQ: 1.033)3. Karnataka Bulls 5-3-2-6 (PQ: 0.885); 4. Kerala Killers 5-2-3-4 (PQ: 1.043) 5.Yanam Tigers 5-2-3-4 (PQ: 1.004); 6.Maratha Warriors 5-2-3-4 (PQ: 0.949).
Special Awards: Attacker: John Christopher (Yanam Tigers); Universal: Sanjay Kumar (Bulls), Setter: Kapil Dev (Spikers); Libero: Vinod Negi (Chargers); Blocker: Aziz (Warriors).
Keywords: Indian Volley League