Kolkata Thunderbolts captain Ashwal Rai was named the RuPay Player of the Match after his side pulled off a stunning 3-2 (12-15, 15-6, 12-15, 15-11, 15-11) victory against Mumbai Meteors in Match 18 of the competition.

Ashwal, a 30-year-old middle blocker, was at his absolute best against Mumbai on the night, having finished the game with an impressive 16 points, three points ahead of his closest competitor and teammate Vinit Kumar.

Such was Ashwal’s influence on the night that the 30-year-old tallied seven points in the second set alone. The number is mostly imposing because the blocker was responsible for a solitary point in the opening round.

It is safe to say that Ashwal was true to his position throughout the game as four of his seven points in the second set came in the attack and the rest were accumulated while defending Mumbai’s crashing strikes.

Along the next three sets, Ashwal’s role gradually became that of a setter, as he played his role in most of his team’s attacks. By the end, the 30-year-old’s tally read nine points in attack, six points while blocking and one from the launch.

Kolkata Thunderbolts’ win against Mumbai Meteors was, in fact, a result of sheer team effort. This can be understood by the fact that as many as four players were responsible for more than five points. This includes Vinit Kumar, Cody Caldwell and Rahul K along with Ashwal.

Meanwhile, now that Kolkata have passed the Mumbai test, their focus moves to the Kochi leg where they will take on Chennai Blitz on February 27.