Two left-handers, Sanil Shetty and Swede Matilda Ekholm, were needed to bring RP-SG Mavericks, Kolkata, back in contention in the Ultimate Table Tennis League on Tuesday.
After facing a disappointing 4-11 drubbing by Goa Challengers, Mavericks needed that big win that would catapult them back in the league. And it came in the best way, over the mighty Puneri Paltan. As it transpired, every Mavericks player pitched in to set up an impressive 11-4 victory.
All’s well that started and ended WELL! Something very true for today’s tie between our Mavericks and Puneri Panltans Table Tennis. Congratulations Team #RPSGMavericksKolkata on our first glorious win of #UltimateTableTennis Season 3!@manikabatra_TT @Matiekholm @ShettySanil pic.twitter.com/TbFfYifc9t
— RP-SG Mavericks (@RPSGMavericks) July 30, 2019
In fact, the line-up worked Mavericks’ side with the overseas players clashing before the all-India clashes which went to their liking.
The team rode on a 3-0 start given by Ekholm before adding two more points after Bendikt Duda shocked Chuang Chih-Yuan 2-1. Ekholm and Sanil then joined forces to add two additional points off Sabine Winter and Harmeet Desai.
Being behind 2-7, Pune looked up to captain Desai for inspiration and beat underdog Shetty. However, it was a difficult evening for the side, and Desai was not spared as well. The paddler buckled under pressure, losing by 2-1 to Shetty. In the process, the latter also claimed a ‘golden point’ in succession twice.
When Manika Batra, a Commonwealth Games gold medallist, entered the arena, she only had the job of further widening the winning margin. And she did that precisely well, against the freshly-crowned Commonwealth champion Ayhika Mukherjee. Even though she dropped the ‘golden-point’, Manika won the game fairly comfortably.
Matilda beat a lower-ranked Sabine Winter in a routine game. With the victory, she also took her triumph-tally to three in as many encounters against the German this year.
Having seen her team outright dominate the opponents, Benedikt Duda was expected to be in high spirits. And she did live up to the expectations, registering arguably the best performance of the UTT season. Against a 28th-ranked Chaung, the paddler fired on all fronts and played with stellar rhythm.
RP-SG Mavericks, Kolkata bt. Puneri Paltan 11-4
(Matilda Ekholm bt. Sabine Winter 11-9, 11-5, 11-6;
Benedikt Duda bt. Chuang Chih-Yuan 11-6, 11-4, 8-11;
Sanil Shetty & Matilda bt. Harmeet Desai & Sabine 6-11, 11-8, 11-9;
Shetty lost to Desai 8-11, 11-10, 11-10;
Manika Batra bt. Ayhika Mukherjee 11-3, 10-11, 11-7)