Erratic Bulls fall tamely to Spikers

Karnataka lose in four sets to Chennai team

On court against a mean looking Chennai Spikers at the Sree Kanteerava stadium on Monday, the Bulls, who had suffered a 0-3 pummeling at the hands of the Yanam Tigers in their opening encounter on Sunday, looked to have put behind the loss to begin with, but their inability to hold their nerve at crucial junctions proved fatal as they lost 25-23, 23-25, 24-26, 19-25.

In the day’s other matches, the Maratha Warriors scored a 25-22, 25-21, 25-21 win over the Tigers while the Kerala Killers overcame the Hyderabad Chargers 30-28, 16-25, 25-19, 28-30, 15-13,

With Suresh Godara starting the match, the Bulls were expected to give the paltry but vocal crowd a whole lot to cheer about and coach Om Prakash’s ploy worked brilliantly. The Bulls looked in superb touch and showed the confidence that appeared obvious on paper, but lacked in the first match, seemed well and truly justified as they took things into their own hands.

Star universal Sanjay Kumar lived up to his ‘icon’ tag with a series of tremendous smashes and the blocking squad -- N Shelton Moses, N Jagadeesh and A Vikram, which is the Bulls’ weakest link, came to life with a superb display to win their side the first set.

In the second set, the Bulls once again got into a zone of sorts to dictate terms and jumped to a 9-6 lead but the Spikers eventually got their act together and leveled scores at 12-12.

With pressure to clinch the second set pressing hard against them, the Bulls wilted and offered the Spikers the set and the team from Chennai accepted it with open arms. Dehradun’s Mandeep Singh continued to serve like a dream and that helped Spikers get into good positions time and again. The Bulls, meanwhile, depended heavily on Chennai’s Vikram and he delivered with very precise smashes from the front court but that alone was not enough to deny the Spikers’ crew from taking the third set.

With their tails in between their legs, the Bulls lazed about the court in the fourth set and the Spikers, sniffing victory, went for the kill. Skipper J Nadarajan led the way by marshalling his troops with class while Navjith Singh smashed past his opponents at will. Bulls’ Vikram and Moses tried their hand at clawing their way back to push the match to the decider but it was not to be.

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