Chennai Spikers was off to a fine start in the Yanam leg of the Indian Volley League with an easy win over Maratha Warriors in the opening match at the Dr. Y.S.R. International Indoor Stadium here on Sunday. Chennai Spikers won 25-16, 25-18, 25-21 in 68 minutes.
Chennai, leading the table at the end of previous two legs, was a perfect example of coordination with individual brilliance of setter Kapil Dev, telling smashes by S. Prabhakaran and left-handed K.G. Ragesh with Navjit Singh's serve putting the team on the right track.
Meanwhile Maratha Warriors failed to come together as a team and was off colour on the day. The only time that Warriors led in the match was when it took a 3-0 lead in the first set.
Chennai Spikers quickly drew level with Prabhakaran sending down a smash. It soon pulled ahead as Warriors failed to fight back. More mistakes saw the set ending early.
Warriors' libero Surendra Kumar failed to click and the team's game plan went astray, conceded as much by coach Devidas Jadhav later.
For Chennai Prabhakaran and Ragesh smashed with accuracy while P. Rohith supplemented their efforts. Navjit served well, gaining a few points on the serve itself.
This has made the team to work without a hitch and the team combination was excellent, said its coach A. Venkatesan.
Warriors tried to make a match of it in the third set with Pradeep, Omvir Mann and Ameya Kulkarni drawing the team level at 10 after it trailed 4-8.
Aziz's drop shot once again levelled the score at 12 and at 13 when a foul by Chennai came to its aid. But Chennai Spikers hit back quickly.
Ragesh, Navjit and Mandeep soon got in to the scoring act while Warriors committed a few mistakes to provide a tame end to the match.
Meanwhile, Yanam Tigers pulled off a splendid win over Kerala Tigers in five sets in the second match of the day. Yanam Tigers won 22-25, 26-24, 21-25, 25-14, 15-10.
Solid blocking and quick counter-attack earned the match for Yanam as it came back from one set down to clinch the second on extra points. Kerala pulled one back but the host came back strongly in the fourth to take the match into the decider which it won comfortably.
Y. Subba Rao and Tom Joseph played an excellent game and P. Kalaivanan created many dents in the Kerala defence with telling smashes. Rajit, the setter stood out in the decider.
Failure in reception spoiled Kerala's chances and it failed to combine well in the block in the crucial fifth set.
MLA and former Home Minister of Puducherry, E. Valsaraj, inaugurated the tournament. Local MLA and former Minister M. Krishna Rao, East Godavari Collector M. Ravichandra, advisor to IVL and associate secretary of the Volleyball Federation of India A. Ramana Rao, India chief coach and coordinator of IVL G.E. Sridharana and others were present.