Aratt Fighters start well

Aratt Fighters start well

After Rohan Castelino overcame a second game hiccup to defeat Prakash Jolly 21-17, 19-21, 23-21 in an exciting first match, Jacqueline and Ashwini took over to give Aratt Fighters an unassailable 3-0 lead. Jacqueline, who was bought for 1.06 lakhs, battled past Leela Lakshmi 21-16, 12-21, 21-12 while Ashwini, the richest player in the KBL, teamed up with Prajesh Soman to get the better of Prateeksha Ramesh/ Prateek Khurana 25-23, 21-14. Ashwini struggled in the first game but put up a steady show as Aratt emerged easy winners on the day.

Earlier, the league got off to a perfect start with Jolly and Castelino dishing out an entertaining encounter. Castelino was off to a good start in the first game, leading 10-7 before managing to pocket the game 21-17. Jolly fared much better in the second game, producing some powerful smashes. Also aided by his opponent’s largesse, he took the game 21-19 to take the match into the decider.

Jolly continued his good form in the third game and even led 17-11. Castelino then hit a forehand long and dumped another easy smash into the net to put Jolly within two points of a victory.

Jolly,  however, relaxed a little bit as Castelino reduced the margin to two points at 17-19. More drama was in store for the spectators as Castelino came up with two down-the-line smashes on the trot to level the scores. A Jolly backhand drop hit the net and Castelino served for the match but he too faltered. Castelino had one more chance to settle the issue at 21-20 but he sprayed his shot wide. The longest rally of the match saw Castelino getting his third match point when he smashed past his rival and he screamed in joy when Jolly put a backhand into the net to hand victory to his rival.

In the other match of the day, White Peacock, led by Aditya Prakash, scored a 3-1 win over Li Ning Lions. Aditya outplayed Irshad Khan 21-8, 21-10 and Uttara Prakash beat Jamuna Rani 21-15, 21-13 to give Peacock a 2-0 lead. Lions’ Abhinand Shetty and Nitya Sosale reduced the margin, defeating Dheeraj M and Divya A 21-7, 21-5 in the mixed doubles. Jagdish Yadav then overcame Sonic Prabhudesai 21-18, 21-16 to give Peacock a winning 3-1 verdict.

Results: Aratt Fighters bt K2 Smashers 3-0 (Rohan Castelino bt Prakash Jolly 21-17, 19-21, 23-21; Jacqueline Rose Kunnath bt Leela Lakshmi 21-16, 12-21, 21-12; Ashwini Ponnappa/ Prajesh Soman bt Prateeksha Ramesh/ Prateek Khurana 25-23, 21-14.
White Peacock bt Li Ning Lions 3-1 (Aditya Prakash bt Irshad Khan 21-8, 21-10, Uttara Prakash bt Jamuna Rani 21-15, 21-13; Dheeraj M/ Divya A lt to Abhinand Shetty/ Nitya Sosale 7-21, 5-21; Jagdish Yadav bt Sonic Prabhudesai 21-18, 21-16).