After finishing on the wrong end of a five-set result on the opening day of the Indian Volley League, Kerala Killers turned its fortunes around on Monday to inflict a similar defeat on fancied Hyderabad Chargers at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium here.
In a match where momentum alternated with alarming regularity, Kerala eventually triumphed 30-28, 16-25, 25-19, 28-30, 15-10. Naveen Raja Jacob and captain K.P. Shaheem turned in towering performances for the victor while Gurinder Singh and Kasi Viswanatha Raju's efforts for Hyderabad went in vain.
Kerala took the lead early in the first set as Shaheem and Jinson Varghese made a series of excellent blocks at the net. Jacob, although devastating with his surging runs and smashes, was erratic with his service, and it was his largesse that allowed the opponent a foothold in the set.
Hyderabad drew level after trailing 19-16, and the two sides progressed thereafter to 27-27. Shaheem and G.R. Vaishnav, however, delivered their side the set with their unyielding work at the net.
Hyderabad's response was dramatic and completely unanticipated.
Setter Kasi and Gurinder took charge as the latter, teed up well by the former, won point after point with his bursts down the right-hand side of the court. The side convincingly took the second set 25-16, but if Kerala had gone to sleep that time, it was Hyderabad's turn in the third.
Shaheem's men clinched it 25-19 and seemed comfortably on course for victory, looking in control of the fourth. Kasi and Gurinder, though, again had different ideas.
From a 26-27 deficit, the pair dragged its team back into contention.
At 28-all, Lalit Kumar, until then somewhat quiet, managed a spike from the left flank that put his team ahead for the first time in the match.
Lavmeet Katariya then stepped in, pulling off a stunning block off a Jacob spike, to drive the match into a decider.
In keeping with the pattern of the game, though, Hyderabad dramatically lost intensity in the fifth set as Kerala strolled to take it 15-10 and record its first triumph at the tournament.
The results: Maratha Warriors bt Yanam Tigers 25-22, 25-21, 25-21; Kerala Killers bt Hyderabad Chargers 30-28, 16-25, 25-19, 28-30, 15-10.
Sunday's result: Hyderabad Chargers bt Chennai Spikers 25-15, 22-25, 23-25, 25-22, 15-12.
Tuesday's matches: Kerala Killers vs. Yanam Tigers, 3:30 p.m.; Chennai Spikers vs Maratha Warriors, 5 p.m.; Hyderabad Chargers vs Karnataka Bulls, 6:30 p.m.
Keywords: Indian Volley League