Kolkata Thunderbolts had a turbulent journey in the 2023 season of the RuPay Prime Volleyball League Powered by A23. Despite being considered the favourites to win the league and finishing top of the table during the league phase, they were knocked out by Bengaluru Torpedoes in the semi-finals. The Thunderbolts only suffered two losses during the season, but both were at crucial stages of the tournament.

Kolkata started their campaign on a positive note, securing an impressive hat-trick of victories. They comfortably defeated Bengaluru on the opening day of the season and went on to win the next two games by a score of 4-1 against Hyderabad Black Hawks and Kochi Blue Spikers. After these initial triumphs, the Thunderbolts appeared to be clear favourites again to retain their crown.

Their first big test came against the Calicut Heroes. The match was tightly contested, with the Heroes’ defence proving to be formidable and difficult to break through. This loss resulted in Kolkata Thunderbolts being replaced at the top of the table by Calicut Heroes. The Thunderbolts made a strong comeback, winning the next three games in a row. Their solid victory against in-form Ahmedabad Defenders in the final game of the league stage helped them regain the top spot.

In a highly anticipated semi-final, Kolkata were stunned by the heroics of Bengaluru Torpedoes. Their defence fell short against a dominant display of attack by Pankaj Sharma, Ibin Jose and Tsvetelin Tsvetanov. Ashwal Rai’s men were unable to shift gears as they ended up losing the match 3-1 and missed out on reaching their second consecutive final and a chance to retain the championship.

Top Performers:

Vinit Kumar

With a total of three RuPay Player of the Match awards to his name, Vinit was certainly a key player for Kolkata Thunderbolts throughout their season. Stepping up when the team needed him the most, this universal ensured his team always looked sharp.

Vinit Kumar was the fourth best scorer of the league with a total of 90 points for his team. Living up to his position, Vinit bagged 80 Attack Points, 7 Block Points and 3 Serve Points for Kolkata Thunderbolts.

Ashwal Rai

Personifying the phrase “leading from the front”, Ashwal Rai was truly in sensational form this season for Kolkata Thunderbolts. Be it attacking, defending or planning, Ashwal did it all.

Scoring a total of 80 points this season for the team, Kolkata Thunderbolts were the only team in the league to have 2 players in the Top Scorers of the season chart. Rai’s 80 points involved 53 Attack Points, 20 Block Points and 7 serve points.

Coach’s Corner

Top Performances:

Kolkata Thunderbolts 3:2 Ahmedabad Defenders

Dominating the game right from the beginning, Kolkata Thunderbolts showed no signs of mercy as they won the first set 15-7. Continuing their fine form, the Thunderbolts wrapped up the game in three sets and secured the Number 1 position at the end of league stage of RuPay Prime Volleyball League Powered by A23 - 2023 Season. A collective team effort, where as many as ten Kolkata players had a point to their name, ensured an important victory against the mighty Ahmedabad Defenders.

Kolkata Thunderbolts 4:1 Hyderabad Black Hawks

A confident Kolkata Thunderbolts walked away with a comfortable victory against the Guru Prasanth-led Hyderabad Black Hawks. Kolkata seemed to have an answer to all of Hyderabad’s tactics in the game, in all departments. Star players Vinit Kumar, Ashwal Rai and Rahul K all scored in double figures guiding the team to victory.