After the first two fixtures (one on Saturday and the other on Sunday) of Premier Badminton League (PBL) were decided even before the fifth ties, it boiled down to the last tie between Simon Santoso (Chennai Smashers) and Gurusai Dutt (Mumbai Rockets), after which the audience got to know about the winner of the third and last match of the Mumbai leg. Santoso won the encounter, thus sealing the fixture 4-3 on points in Chennai’s favour, resulting in vociferous celebrations amongst the Chennai supporters at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Indoor Stadium in Mumbai.
The men’s doubles match between Mathias Boe/ Vladimir Ivanov (Mumbai) and Chris Adcock/Pranav Chopra (Chennai) was the hosts’ ‘Trump Match’ while the men’s singles tie between Santoso and Dutt was Chennai’s ‘Trump” game. A victory in the ‘Trump Match’ results in gain of two points whereas a loss tantamounts to loss of one point.
Kamilla Rytter Juhl and Vladimir Ivanov of Mumbai took on Chris Adcock and Pia Zebadiah of Chennai Smashers in the mixed doubled tie. The visitors hardly broke a sweat and won the first game 15-10 but conceded the second 7-15 to set up thrilling final game which they won 15-11.
HS Prannoy who endured a heart-breaking defeat on Saturday was brimming with joy on Sunday as he edged out Brice Leverdez of France in straight games. The Indian was thoroughly dominating from the start as he went into the mini break with a 8-2 lead. Although Brice fought back and at one point the tie was at 10-8 in Prannoy’s favour, the latter reeled off five points on the trot to snatch the game. In the second, Brice led till 11-9 but again the Indian brought his plethora of cross court smashes sand deft pick up shots to good effect and won six points in a row to win the match 15-8, 15-11. Thus the fixture was levelled at 1-1 on points.
After the win, H.S.Prannoy said, “I was in a little bit of pressure because I lost yesterday’s match against Awadhe Warriors. I was determined to win this one today. This was a good match today as I won it convincingly. ”
Boe and Ivanov playing the ‘Trump Match’, continued from where they had left on Saturday winning the first game with consummate ease. They never really looked in trouble as the Indo-English pair of Chopra and Adcock failed to match their standards. At the mini break it was 8-5 in Mumbai’s favour and the lead swelled as the game went on resulting in Mumbai sealing it 15-10.
Chopra and Adcock raced to a 8-1 lead in the second game, Boe and Ivanov responded by making it 8-12 but then the visitors upped the ante and notched the remaining three points to take the tie into the decider.
The third game never seemed to end as it both teams went out all guns blazing. Mumbai were ahead by a point at 5-4 at the mini break but then the Smashers made it 8-8 and then 12-12 but then the hosts again won two points on the bounce to make it 14-12. The visitors saved one match point but failed at the last hurdle as Mumbai won the game 15-13 to bring a smile on to Akshay Kumar’s (Mumbai’s co-owner and brand ambassador of PBL) face who was in attendance. Two points from the tie meant the hosts had a healthy 3-1 lead on points over their opposition.
After the win, the winning pair said, “After losing our first game of the match we did not fall apart and in this important Trump match we managed to get 2 vital points for our team which will consolidate our position in the tie today. Also it’s a nice feeling to get wins for your team. We won the all important team yesterday and today again we stood up to the team’s expectations. ”
It was always going to be tough for China’s rookie shuttler Han Li (Mumbai) to match the calibre of PV Sindhu in the women’s doubles, but she managed to win a game to level before the the Chennai Smashers’ skipper brought her team back into the competition by sealing the tie 15-8, 11-15, 15-8.
Sindhu completely owned the court in the first game as Li was reduced to a mere spectator. A deft drop shot at 13-6 gave the Indian No. 2 a game point and she grabbed it with both hands at the next opportunity. In the second, the Chinese shuttler managed fend off competition from her opponent breaking away from a 11-11 score to win the last four points. At game point, Sindhu smashed against the net as the tie rolled into the third game. The lanky Indian made short work of her lowly ranked opponent in the last game winning it in a hurry by a 15-8 margin. Mumbai thus stood at three points while Chennai added another to their bag to be at two going in to the last tie of the day between Santoso and Dutt.
“Han Li just showed the nerves of steel, though I easily won the first game but she was flawless in the second game. Luckily I managed to win the last game and earned the all important point for our team. Now we hope to win the next game which is our Trump match and end the Tie on a positive note,” Sindhu said after her match.
Dutt couldn’t repeat the heroics of Saturday as 113 ranked Santoso stunned him with a 15-9, 15-12 straight game victory. In the first game Simon went into the break with a 8-6 lead and nudged ahead again after being pegged back to 9-9. There was not catching him after that as he sealed the game.
In the second, Dutt again fell behind at the break (5-8). He recovered to level the scores at 12-12 but his two smashes went wide after that and Santoso found himself on match point. A long rally followed which was filled with clever drops shots from both the players and Dutt failed to hold on to his cool as he lofted the shuttle over the baseline to hand the tie to Chennai.