Chargers downs Kerala Killers while Yanam Tigers beats Maratha Warriors

Chennai Spikers topped the Yanam leg of the Indian Volley League with an all-win record in the six-team league that concluded here on Thursday. Spikers, which won the last leg at Chennai, retained the top position.

Spikers beat Karnataka Bulls 25-22, 25-19, 19-25, 25-23 to ensure its top position; Hyderabad Chargers downed Kerala Killers 16-21, 25-22, 25-23, 25-22 and host Yanam Tigers gladdened the hearts of a capacity crowd with an exciting 19-25, 25-21, 25-17, 25-22 win over Maratha Warriors in the last match.

On the last day here, the players were totally exhausted and those who had performed well till now were below par even as the absence of injured key players continued to haunt the teams.

Spikers needed to win to put to rest any doubts that Bulls, a team improving steadily in the meet, would upset it.

Bulls came back into the match but a hotly contested referee's decision in the fourth set apparently took the fight out of the team.

Good show

Prabhakaran was impressive again for Spikers though he was visibly tired as the match came to an end; Mandeep was most impressive while setter Kapil Dev disturbed the rival with his fine distribution. Libero Kanakaraj and Navjith Singh played well in the last two sets.

Bulls led 14-8 in the second set, thanks to international Sanjay Kumar, but Spikers controlled the flow to clinch the set. Sanjay, combining with T.D. Ravikumar and with Moses scoring a few points in the end, helped Bulls clinch the third set.

The teams fought for every point in the fourth. Spikers built a 20-16 lead but Bulls reduced it to 21-20 when the first referee ruled touch out against Karnataka, which was vehemently contested. The team said the referee took the decision before consulting the second referee.

Red-carded

Coach Om Parkash, who had an argument with the first referee, was shown the red card. This was the second time he had received the red card, the first during the match against Tigers. It was frustrating for the Bulls, as the referee's decision at crucial stage in both matches denied it a chance to win.

Killers won the first set against Chargers with Naveen Jacob Raja playing a splendid game which he continued throughout the match. Gurinder Singh played well for Chargers. Though Killers took the lead in third and fourth sets, it fumbled in the end.

Chargers' coach M.H. Kumara was upset with the change in the schedule of the match. Though it was the second match of the day, according to the original schedule, it was played first. The day's first two matches had been advanced to the morning and his players had to play at a time they were not used to in the IVL so far, said Kumara.

The last leg commences in Hyderabad on June 20.

Points position: At Yanam: Chennai Spikers (10), Hyderabad Chargers (9), Karnataka Bulls (8), Yanam Tigers (7), Kerala Killers (6) and Maratha Warriors (5).

Overall (after three legs): Spikers (26), Chargers (24), Tigers (22), Bulls (22), Warriors (21) and Kerala Killers (20).

Special awards: Best attacker: T.D. Ravikumar (Bulls); Best universal: Gurinder Singh (Chargers); Best blocker: G. Pradeep (Warriors); Best setter: Ranjit Singh (Tigers); Best libero: Kanakaraj (Spikers).

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