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UTT | Mavericks pulverise Paltan

Left is right: Southpaws Matilda Ekholm and Sanil Shetty proved unbeatable.

Left is right: Southpaws Matilda Ekholm and Sanil Shetty proved unbeatable.  

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Matilda and Sanil play key roles in the big win

It took two left-handers, Swede Matilda Ekholm and Sanil Shetty, to bring back RP-SG Mavericks, Kolkata, on the right track in the Ultimate Table Tennis League here on Tuesday.

After a 4-11 drubbing at the hands of Goa Challengers, Mavericks needed a big win over formidable Puneri Paltan. As it turned out, each of Mavericks players pitched in and set up an impressive 11-4 victory.

Indeed, the line-up worked in favour of Mavericks as the overseas players clashed early on before the all-India clashes went to its liking.

Great start

Riding on a 3-0 start given by Matilda, Mavericks added two more when Bendikt Duda surprised Chuang Chih-Yuan 2-1. Sanil and Matilda came together to add two more points by defeating Harmeet Desai and Sabine Winter.

Trailing 2-7, Paltan looked at skipper Desai to tame underdog Shetty but that was not to be. With Desai under pressure, Shetty rallied to win 2-1, claiming ‘golden point’ twice in succession.

Thereafter it was left to Commonwealth Games gold medallist Manika Batra to increase the winning margin.

Facing the newly-crowned Commonwealth champion Ayhika Mukherjee, Manika raced away with the first but dropped the ‘golden-point’ in the second. In the decider, Manika never trailed.

Matilda, ranked 25th, expectedly blanked 62nd-ranked Sabine Winter to take her win-tally to three in as many encounters against the German this year. She grew stronger with every passing game and eventually left Sabine exasperated.

Thereafter it was the turn of 53rd-ranked Benedikt Duda to produce what was clearly the performance of this season. Facing 28th-ranked Chaung, Duda fired on both flanks, played with astounding rhythm and pulled off the first two games. In the third, Chaung gained some consolation.

The 1-2 reverse in the mixed doubles deflated Paltan once Shetty and Matilda, both playing with a left-handed partner for the first time, bounced back from a game’s deficit. Thereafter, Paltan caved in under mounting pressure.

The results: RP-SG Mavericks, Kolkata bt Puneri Paltan 11-4 (Matilda Ekholm bt Sabine Winter 11-9, 11-5, 11-6; Benedikt Duda bt Chuang Chih-Yuan 11-6, 11-4, 8-11; Sanil Shetty & Matilda bt Harmeet Desai & Sabine 6-11, 11-8, 11-9; Shetty lost to Desai 8-11, 11-10, 11-10; Manika Batra bt Ayhika Mukherjee 11-3, 10-11, 11-7).

Wednesday’s fixture: Chennai Lions v Goa Challengers (7 p.m.).

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2019 4:17:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/utt-mavericks-pulverise-paltan/article28763046.ece

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