Preview: After more than two weeks of mouth-watering, jaw dropping and emotion-invoking Ties, it’s finally come down to this – Falcons TTC face Shazé Challengers in the final of UTT at the NSCI Stadium in Mumbai. Statistically, they are the two best teams in the tournament, and there’s no doubt that it’s going to be a cracking contest on Sunday.
Falcons TTC finished the league table with 78 points before coming up with a stellar show to thump DHFL Maharashtra United a couple of days ago. They were rock solid in every department of the Tie and they will be keen to replicate those performances one last time in the tournament.
From delivering consistently for the team to bailing them out whenever they were in trouble - Wu Yang has been a lynchpin for the Falcons in the tournament. Her strong transformation from defence to attack has been a nightmare for the opposition players, as she has struck 51 winners. The 25-year-old’s unmatched consistency would be a big boost for the Falcons, heading into tonight’s final.
Factor in Liam Pitchford’s contributions, that have been equally important for the team. The Englishman won six out of his last seven Matches and he will be looking to carry his stupendous form in tonight’s final.
Sanil Shetty’s performances in the singles category have also caught plenty of eyeballs. The left-handed paddler though, has been vulnerable in the Mixed Doubles. Shetty and Ching have lost all their previous four Matches, and considering the impeccable form of Soumyajit Ghosh and Petrissa Solja, there’s no doubt that the Falcons pair will be in for a stern battle tonight.
Mixed with a great bunch of young and experienced players, Shazé Challengers have been the team to beat in the tournament. A bulk of team’s success in the tournament has been due to the astonishing form of Han Ying. The experienced German paddler has won all the 12 Matches that she has featured in so far, and most of her wins have played a definitive role in shaping the eventual result of the contest.
It remains to be seen whether her breath-taking form will help the team to win the inaugural edition of UTT.
In addition to Ying, Andrej Gacina, Li Ping and Soumyajit Ghosh have also proven to be the stand out performers for the team so far. Falcons TTC have in-form players in the men’s division, so it’s important for the trio to carry their good form.
Having already tasted success against the Falcons in the group stage, the challengers will surely reflect on their previous performance to take some positives ahead of the big final.
Battle to watch out for
Han Ying vs Wu Yang:
The Match between these two paddlers in the previous Tie has probably been the best Match of the tournament so far. Prior to the clash, Wu Yang had won 21 Games, but Ying not only put an end to that astonishing run, but also won the Match in three mouth-watering Games - 11-10, 11-10 and 11-10. There is no doubt that Yang will be looking to seek revenge and hand Ying her first defeat in UTT.
With two best teams in the tournament facing in the title clash, we’re in for a special show tonight. Shazé Challengers defeated Falcons TTC in the previous Tie, so they might have an edge in tonight’s final.