The Kolkata Thunderbolts finished second on the points table after defeating Kochi Blue Spikers 13-15, 15-11, 15-13, 15-8, 10-15 in the last league stage match of the Volleyball League at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium on Wednesday. Kolkata Thunderbolts' Vinit Kumar was adjudged the Player of the Match.
The Ahmedabad Defenders, who finished first in the league stage, will be up against Hyderabad Black Hawks (fourth place) in the first semifinal on Thursday, meanwhile, the Kolkata Thunderbolts (second place) will take on the Calicut Heroes (third place) in the second semifinal on Friday.
Abdul Raheem produced a fantastic smash as the Blue Spikers took the lead at 9-7 in the first set. However, Matthew August effected a brilliant spike as the Thunderbolts won a Super Point and gained the lead at 12-11. But, Sethu TR produced a brilliant serve and put the Blue Spikers in the driver's seat before Caldwell's smash helped Kochi close out the first set at 15-13.
Rahul K pulled off two spectacular serves as the Thunderbolts held the edge at 8-5 in the second set. Vinit Kumar also stood tall as Kolkata continued to forge ahead. Kolkata rode on the momentum and eventually wrapped up the second set at 15-11 to make it one set all.
Captain Ashwal Rai and Rahul K effected fabulous spikes as the Thunderbolts held the edge at 9-6 in the third set. However, Cody Caldwell and Abhinav BS showed their brilliance to help Kochi gain the lead at 11-9. But, Kolkata won two Super Points in a row and regained the lead at 13-11. The Thunderbolts effected a block and closed out the third set at 15-13 to take a 2-1 lead in the match.
Rahul and Vinit continued to produce brilliant spikes as Kolkata dominated the fourth set at 7-3. Moments later, Vinit produced another fabulous spike to help the Thunderbolts win a Super Point and take a massive lead at 12-7. Kolkata eventually wrapped up the fourth set at 15-8 and sealed the match.
The Thunderbolts and Blue Spikers played out a hard-fought contest and were locked at 9-9 in the final set. However, Raison Benet Rebello's spectacular serve helped Kochi win a Super Point and put his team in the driver's seat at 13-10. The Blue Spikers eventually closed out the fifth set at 15-10. Kolkata registered their fourth victory in six matches at the RuPay Prime Volleyball League.