Tie 24 of the ongoing Premier Badminton League (PBL) saw 3rd ranked Mumbai Rockets clash with Bengaluru Raptors. Lying at the fifth position, the tie was important for Bengaluru to climb up the ladder. Bengaluru had the last laugh, much convincingly than thought, with the final scoreline: 5-0.
The fixtures of the tie were as follows
The first encounter was Bengaluru's trump match. Their Thi Trang Vu took on Shriyanshi Pardeshi. Being the trump match, the pressure was on Bengaluru to either start with a negative marking or cruise ahead straightaway. The first game was highly dominated by Vu who ended winning 15-4. Pardeshi, however, showed her composure to level things after the penultimate game with a hard-earned victory; 15-11. She couldn't carry on for long in similar stead, and Vu broke her resistance to claim the opening fixture 15-4, 11-15, 15-7. As a result, Bengaluru got off to a desirable start (2-0).
The next faceoff was between Hendra Setiawan-Mohammad Ahsan versus Lee Yong Dae-Kim Gi Jung. Mumbai skipper, Lee, had to turn the tables for his side. Setiawan-Ahsan enjoyed the lead from the onset and pocketed the first game 15-11. However, it wasn't a thorough performance and the opposition had their chances.
The penultimate game was expected to be more fierce but led to the same scoreline. Thus, Bengaluru made it 3-0.
The third clash was held between Bengaluru skipper Kidambi Srikanth and Denmark's Anders Antonsen. It was expected that Srikanth would walk past in-form Antonsen, and did the same without the decider.
Srikanth was ran close by Antonsen but it was the crucial moments wherein he held his nerves to prevail 15-14, 15-13.
Mumbai's trump card, Sameer Verma, played the trump match for his side and was up against youngster Sai Praneeth. It was expected to go in favour of in-form Sameer. He even had the lead after a victorious first game.
However, the script changed drastically in the following games. Praneeth's inspiring fightback humbled Sameer, 15-5, in the second game. The last game was a tight contest but Praneeth made it past his rival (15-13) with few good smashes to emerge on top.
The final match was in the mixed doubles' category wherein Bengaluru's Marcus Ellis-Lauren Smith locked horns with Jung-Pia Bernadeth. It was a dead rubber with Bengaluru already 5-(-1) ahead. The doors were shut for Mumbai post their third defeat itself.
Mumbai, however, made some inroads and won the last fixture courtesy a team effort from Jung-Pia Bernadeth; winning 15-14, 15-13.The hosts could still not earn a point for being in the negative prior to their sole victory, and ended with a sorry scoreline.
About the Author
Aditya Sahay, a former cricket reporter/writer and statistician, has shifted gears to other sports (primarily badminton, tennis, kabaddi, hockey, golf etc). While cricket remains his first love, he enjoys covering and writing on kabaddi, hockey and tennis. He dons Germanys jersey during FIFA and believes Dhoni Dhoni hai, isko (aur) mauka mila toh bahut aage jayega