Both teams enter this clash on the back of winning their opening matches.
The Prime Volleyball League 2023 continues to heat up as the Kolkata Thunderbolts, last year’s champions, face off against the youthful Hyderabad Black Hawks in their second game of the season, on Wednesday, at the Koramangala Indoor Stadium in Bengaluru, Karnataka. The Thunderbolts come into this match fresh off a victory against the Bengaluru Torpedoes, while the Black Hawks, defeated the Ahmedabad Defenders in their opening match.
With all competitors having played at least one match, the league enters a crucial phase, as all teams now have a degree of familiarity with their opposition. With regard to the new squad compositions, both teams feel they can appropriately set their game plans in motion.
Trent O’Dea, the Australian, who plays as a Blocker for the Hyderabad Black Hawks said, “It’s good to get your first game out of the way. It gets rid of any nerves or jitters you have before the tournament begins and now players have an idea of what to expect.”
Trent O’Dea further explained why there is a need to fortify their defence in each match, and also gave a glimpse into the strategies that worked out for his side in the clash against Ahmedabad.
“Our defence was right and that made a massive difference. Everyone in this league has a good attack, so defence is key for teams to succeed. Against Ahmedabad, we blocked and dug balls a little better than the opposition this allowed us to keep more balls alive and score crucial points. Especially, in a shortened format of 15 points, this can really have an impact.”
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O’Dea also commended the youngest captain in the league, SV Guru Prashanth, for stepping up to the leadership role, despite being only 22 years of age. “He’s been doing really well, he consistently shows the traits of a good leader, he contributes to strategy and takes it seriously. He is also checking in with his teammates to make sure they are in a good frame of mind and have everything they need. This creates a positive atmosphere.”
O’Dea also feels this has contributed to his overall experience in India, which has been very warm. “The team has been very supportive and welcoming; I’ve enjoyed my time here and I have enjoyed the Hyderabadi Biryani as well.”
Ashwal Rai, Captain of the Kolkata Thunderbolts opened up on his team’s simple outlook that has helped them prevail in the first match against the home side Bengaluru Torpedoes. “We do not worry too much about what is happening with other teams. We focus on ourselves. We have fourteen of the best players from all over India and some international experience, so we have everything we need to excel.”
The team has been training since 5th January at Ashwal’s home turf, the Father Mullers Indoor Stadium in Mangalore. Ashwal Rai added, “We have been training hard for over a month, and our preparation showed in our encounter against the Torpedoes. I am sure the match against the Black Hawks will be a hard-fought one, and we are looking forward to it.”
The Prime Volleyball League will be telecast LIVE on Sony Sports Ten 1 (English), Sony Sports Ten 3 (Hindi), Sony Sports Ten 4 (Tamil & Telugu) & Sony Sports Ten 2 (Malayalam) channels in India. It will also be streamed on Volleyball World TV outside the Indian subcontinent, starting February 4, Saturday.
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