Vinit Kumar was the star for the defending champions.

Vinit Kumar stole the show as the Kolkata Thunderbolts registered an emphatic win over Hyderabad Black Hawks at the Koramangala Indoor Stadium in Bengaluru, Karnataka in their second encounter of Prime Volleyball League 2023, on Wednesday. Earning a total of 13 points, Vinit helped his side get their second win in the tournament as the Kolkata Thunderbolts thumped the Hyderabad Black Hawks 15-13, 15-7, 15-9, 15-12, 8-15 to climb on top of the table with two more points. Vinit was named the Player of the Match.

Kolkata used the attacking prowess of Vinit and the defensive mindset of Cody Caldwell to win the first two sets and take a 2-0 lead in the match. The Black Hawks tried to rely on their defensive strengths, as SV Guru Prashanth and John Joseph combined for blocks early on. But Cody kept countering Guru’s spikes, and Vinit kept finding areas to attack.

Janshad was the unsung hero in the second set for Kolkata, as he set up Vinit and Deepesh for attacking shots. Hyderabad’s defence continued to stutter while Cody’s blocks did not allow Guru any room to trouble the opposition. Ashwal Rai joined in on the action and earned two consecutive points as Kolkata won the second set 15-7 to take a 2-0 lead in the match.

Trailing by two sets, Hyderabad looked to change strategies and became more aggressive in their approach, as Guru started finding his way into the match. But the Black Hawks did not help themselves by giving away easy points with unforced errors. Rahul and Ashwal began contributing with attacking shots, while Cody remained consistent with his taps. Rahul closed the set with a monstrous spike as Kolkata Thunderbolts won the third set 15-9 to seal their victory.

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Hyderabad’s defence finally found its rhythm in the fourth set as John and Hemanth combined to put on two solid blocks. With a super serve from Guru, the Black Hawks took control. Cody stunned the opposition from the service line, winning four straight points. Kolkata remained unstoppable as Ashwal made another beautiful block to win the set 15-12 for Kolkata.

With a chance to win the bonus point, Kolkata maintained their energy levels in the final set, but Cody made a couple of unforced errors to give an advantage to the opposition. With a spike, Trent O’Dea gave the Hawks a four-point lead in the final set. The Thunderbolts’ front line could not contain the aggressive play from Trent and Hyderabad took a 13-7 lead. Guru’s spike ended the set 15-8 in Hyderabdad’s favour but Kolkata won the match 4-1.

Ahmedabad Defenders will be up against Bengaluru Torpedoes at the Koramangala Indoor Stadium in the sixth match of the RuPay Prime Volleyball League in Bengaluru at 1900 hrs IST on Thursday, 09 February 2023.

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