Kochi, March 2nd, 2023: The final phase of the second season of the RuPay Prime Volleyball League powered by A23 will get underway at the Regional Sports Centre, Kochi, from Friday, with the top four teams eyeing a spot in the final to lift the coveted trophy.

Going into the semi-finals, Ahmedabad Defenders have looked dangerous with their attacking prowess. They won 5 out of their 6 matches and are on top of the table with 11 points with one game to go. Kolkata Thunderbolts, the defending champions from the inaugural season, have also the same number of wins but are in the second position on the table with 10 points with one game to play. On the other hand, Calicut Heroes are in third, while the Bengaluru Torpedoes are in fourth with 8 points.

Speaking ahead of their semi-final match, Vinit Kumar, who plays as a Universal for the Kolkata Thunderbolts talked about the team’s and his individual performance. He said, “The team has played exceptionally well this season. The players are fully motivated and are looking forward to the playoffs.

“My approach is that I consider every match in the tournament as the last one and the better I perform, the more I can build trust and confidence for myself in the team. I believe in playing without any pressure,” he added.

Pankaj Sharma, who plays as an attacker for Bengaluru Torpedoes, expects a high-intensity battle in the semi-finals.

“It is an important game and everyone will give their best to secure a place in the final. I want to give full credit to the support and coaching staff for the comeback that the team has shown after the first two matches.”

Talking about the team's strategy, Pankaj added, “Each team has a different strategy depending upon their opponents. It might change according to the situation but everyone will be doing their homework. We are doing the same so that we are well-prepared for anything that comes our way.”

Calicut Heroes who have been a formidable opponent in the league will be looking to prove a point. Mohan Ukkrapandian (setter), who has been an instrumental part of the franchise is anticipating a fierce battle. He said, “We are looking forward to giving our best in the playoffs. We are focusing on a win that will take us to the final. It will definitely be competitive.”

When asked about the importance of the match, Mohan added, “It’s a do-or-die match for us. We have to win at any cost. As one could see from the table, it was so tight between the top four teams. We will give our 100% and hope that the result goes in our favour.”

Ahmedabad Defenders, who have been dominating games will be looking to maintain their winning form. Danial Moatazedi, who plays as a middle-blocker for the franchise is confident that the team has the potential to go all the way. He said, “I believe that the team has a lot of potential. We believe in our skills and game and we know that if we stick to our plan and execute them properly, we will easily cruise along.”

Danial also talked about the team’s strategies and the areas that his team have been focusing on ahead of the semi-finals. “We are not changing our strategies but we are focused on blocking the ball better and converting our negatives into positives. We are also watching our opponents closely, how they have been playing, and what are their strengths,” he signed off.

The RuPay Prime Volleyball League powered by A23 will be telecast LIVE on Sony Sports Ten 1 (English), Sony Sports Ten 3 (Hindi), Sony Sports Ten 4 (Tamil & Telugu) & Sony Sports Ten 2 (Malayalam) channels in India and will be streamed on Volleyball World TV outside the Indian subcontinent, starting February 4, Saturday.

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