Both teams will eye a place in the finals.

The Ahmedabad Defenders and Hyderabad Black Hawks are in readiness to battle it out in the first Semi-Final of the Prime Volleyball League at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium in Hyderabad on Thursday, 24 February 2022. While the Defenders finished at the top of the standings with 10 points from 6 matches, the Black Hawks finished at the fourth place with 7 points from 6 matches in the league stage.

The league will introduce referee decision reviews during the knockout stage. Each of the teams will have two reviews during the entire match. The sides will retain a review in case of a successful review. The on-court Captain will have 8 seconds from the time the referee makes his decision to call for a review. The decisions which can be reviewed include – ball in & ball out, net fault, antenna touch by the player or ball, touch out and centre-line penetration.

Plenty of chances but no finished product

The RuPay Prime Volleyball League will also witness a change in the scoring system in the Semi-Finals and the Final. If the teams are locked at 14-14, then the team which first establishes a difference of two points will win the set. However, if the teams are tied at 20-20, then whichever team wins the 21st point will win the set.

Speaking ahead of their match against the Black Hawks, Ahmedabad’s Shon T John said, “We are really happy about making it to the Semi-Finals. We have prepared well for today’s match and we have set our plans. The Hyderabad Black Hawks have good players and coaches, but we will look to execute our strategies and give our best.”

When asked about the strengths of the team, the Attacker said, “We have coordinated well throughout the tournament and we have supported each other very well. We are going into the Semi-Final with confidence after registering a victory against Kochi Blue Spikers in our previous match. I am also focusing on getting better as a player with every match.”

Hyderabad Black Hawks will be going into the Semi-Final after going down 5-0 against Calicut Heroes in their last league stage match. When asked about the game, Hyderabad’s SV Guru Prasanth said that the team should be able to bounce back, “Our opponents played well and we didn’t execute our strategies properly. We lost 14-15 in three sets and some things didn’t go in our favour. However, we have to make a comeback after our last game. We had a bad match, but we should be able to bounce back after a defeat.”

Speaking ahead of their match against Ahmedabad, Prasanth said, “Being a young side, it’s a big achievement for us to reach the Semi-Finals. However, this is not the end for us. We are going to give our 100 percent and try our best to win the match. We are concerned about our blocking game. We have to block well and stop their attacking game.”

The Ahmedabad Defenders will be up against Hyderabad Black Hawks in Semi-Final 1 at 1850hrs on Thursday, 24 February 2022.

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