Kolkata Thunderbolts came from behind to register a thrilling 12-15, 15-6, 12-15, 15-11, 15-11 victory over the Mumbai Meteors in the second season of the Prime Volleyball League (PVL) at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium here on Monday.
Ashwal Rai was named the Player of the contest for his all-round display as Kolkata quelled a stiff challenge from Mumbai to win the match.
Mumbai's Hiroshi Centelles showcased aggressive intentions from the service line and helped the Meteors get ahead. But when Rahul started serving the ball for the Thunderbolts, the momentum shifted. Janshad and skipper Ashwal Rai combined to take over Kolkata's middle line.
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Sowing seeds of doubts in Vinit Kumar's mind with tactical play, Mumbai levelled things. With captain Karthik leading the defence line, and Shameem creating attacking opportunities, Mumbai outwitted the defending champions with ferocious blocks and took charge.
Changing strategies, Kolkata employed a two-man block line of Ashwal and Rahul, and suddenly the door was shut on Mumbai's attacks. Mumbai remained high on energy but kept making errors. Cody Caldwell's spikes became a cause of concern for Mumbai.
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But Shameem's super serve edged the Meteors ahead again. Libero Ratheesh's presence improved Mumbai's passing and the Meteors took control once again. But Ashwal and Rahul's block line once again shut down Mumbai's attackers and Kolkata once again levelled the playing field to push the match right down to the wire.
Skipper Ashwal led from the front to make an impact in the final set and he shut down Hiroshi with a powerful block. A cold-blooded spike from Vinit further hurt Mumbai, apart from their own errors and Kolkata went on to win the match 3-2 to regain the top position in the table.