Skipper Carson Clark was the hero as Black Hawks Hyderabad edged past resurgent Ahmedabad Defenders 3-2 in the Pro Volleyball League (PVL) at the Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium on Monday. The highly competitive contest was the first-ever genuine five-setter in the league so far.
Clark, who is a left-hander that competed in the 2014 World Championships, was impressive for the hosts. He came up with some fierce cross-court smashes from both the front as well as the backcourts. The shots were enough to evade the two-man block set up by Ahmedabad.
The 30-year-old was at his best playing from the right flank with significant support from Ashwal Rai and Muthusamy. While the former shone with his smashes and blocks, the latter came up with smart back sets for Clark.
The first set was closely fought, with the teams level at 10. But two Super Points saw the game turn in Hyderabad’s favour. The first came after Dilip Khoiwal of Defenders netted his serve, followed by Canada’s Alexander Gerald scoring an ace.
Serbia’s Novica Bjelica teamed up well with Victor Sysoev of Russia to put a soft block for Clark in the second set. Although the move was effective to some extent. That and the impressive performances by Gagandeep Singh and G. R. Vaishnav helped the Defenders level the match.
The third Set belonged to Black Hawk’s skipper Clark. He was very brilliant from the backcourt in the set. Along with Alexander, his attacking mate, he found many vacant pockets in the backcourt. Although Kamlesh Karthik played his role with aplomb, it was difficult for the Defenders to defend. Hyderabad ultimately won the set by 15-11.
Nonetheless, Ahmedabad responded well in the fourth set with some impressive attacking display. They managed to stay ahead of their competitors for the major part of the set. Although Hyderabad caught up with them as both the teams were locked at 13 each, it was the Defenders who bagged the set. Mubarak Ali Sayyad was the man of the moment as he came up with thunderous smashes to take them to the epic decider.
Surprisingly though, Ahmedabad almost capitulated in the final set as the Hawks sailed smoothly. On one hand, as everything went awry for them, Hyderabad played calmly. Once the hosts had taken a significant lead, they saw to it that the game ended in their favour.
“I told my guys to look at the decider as a fresh start,” said Clark who was impressed with the level of Pro League along with the quality of the Indian players.
“We’d a strong team, a balanced side but luck was not with us,” expressed the Defenders captain and Indian setter Ranjit Singh.
What a match it was last night when the @blackhawkshyd overcame @AhmedabadDefen1 in a thrilling encounter which went down to the wire. Here are some snapshots from the match.#ThrillKaCall #RuPayPVL pic.twitter.com/9z67C9RpB1
— Pro Volleyball (@ProVolleyballIN) February 5, 2019
Black Hawks Hyderabad 3-2 Ahmedabad Defenders | 15-11, 13-15, 15-11, 14-15, 15-9.