Chennai Spikers overcame early jitters to defeat Karnataka Bulls 20-25, 25-19, 25-22, 25-19 in the second round of the final leg of the inaugural Indian Volley League at the Kotla Vijaya Bhaskara Reddy Indoor Stadium here on Tuesday. This was Spikers' first win in two matches.
Bulls was off to an impressive start, thanks to the spiking prowess of Sanjay Kumar who capitalised on a splendid performance by A. Karthik and T.D. Ravi Kumar in defence. During this phase, the trio did not allow Spikers, winner of the last two legs, to settle down.
However, it was a different story from the second set. Southpaw K.G. Ragesh picked gaps and points with ease as Spikers stormed back into the contest.
With blockers Mandeep Singh and Kapil Dev providing good support, Ragesh had the liberty to repeatedly test rival libero Darshan S. Gowda with some stunning smashes. Once Spikers levelled the match 1-1, there was no looking back.
Ragesh made a big impact not just with his power, but by the acute angles he created from close to the corner. His big serve repeatedly caught the Bulls defence off-guard.
To Ragesh's delight, the second pass was mostly perfect from both Kapil and Mandeep.
In the fourth set, Spikers, clearly stunned by the defeat at the hands of Yanam Tigers on Monday, was in no mood to relax and clinched the issue with ease.
Meanwhile, Tigers registered its second straight win, beating Maratha Warriors 25-20, 23-25, 25-13, 25-19. It was the second successive loss for Warriors.
Powered by a high quality display from John Christopher, who was given good support by setter Ranjit Singh, Tigers raised the bar every time the Warriors threatened to make a match of it. With the lanky Subba Rao playing the role of central blocker to near perfection, it became easy for Christopher to score frequently.
On the other hand, Warriors seemed to be over-dependent on Gurchand Singh. Though he made his presence felt in the first two sets by scoring points in tandem with Omvir Mann, he seemed to have lost steam after that.
Tigers suffered a setback when the efficient P. Kailavanan limped off the court in the third set and was treated for an injury on the left leg. However, this could not stop Tigers from finishing off things in style. To the delight of the Tigers camp, Ranjith Singh and D. Soundar combined well at the net to seal all escape routes for the Warriors.
The results: Yanam Tigers bt Maratha Warriors 25-23, 23-25, 25-13, 25-17.
Chennai Spikers bt Karnataka Bulls 20-25, 25-19, 25-22, 25-19.
Hyderabad Chargers bt Kerala Killers 25-23, 25-17, 25-22.
Wednesday's matches: Kerala Killers vs Yanam Tigers (3.30 p.m.).
Chennai Spikers vs Maratha Warriors (5.30 p.m.).
Hyderabad Chargers vs Karnataka Bulls (7.30 p.m.).