The Bengaluru Raptors claimed their first victory of the Premier Badminton League season with a 3-0 win over home side Hyderabad Hunters at the G.M.C Balayogi SATS Indoor Stadium on Friday.
The Hyderabad Hunters were trailing in the first match as the pair of Ben Lane and Vladimir Ivanov fought hard but went down 13-15, 15-9, 12-15 to Bengaluru Raptors’ Malaysian-Indonesian pair of Peng Soon Chan and Rian Agung Saputro in the men’s doubles fixture.
The Hyderabad Hunters duo could not control their nerves in the final stages of both the games they lost and went on to start off the night on a poor note.
Sourabh Verma further compounded their problems when he lost his trump match for the second-straight tie, falling to Bengaluru Raptors’ Frenchman Brice Leverdez 12-15, 15-10, 6-15, taking the Hyderabad Hunters into negative points.
The Indian shuttler came back strong in the second game after losing a close first but floundered in the deciding game.
Tai Tzu Ying launches a superb comeback
The marquee match of the night between home favourite PV Sindhu and former world no.1 Tai Tzu Ying of the Bengaluru Raptors lived up to expectations as the latter played some wonderful badminton to come out on top, 11-15. 15-13, 15-9.
PV Sindhu seemed to have got her opponent’s number in the first game as she reacted quickly to all of Tai Tzu Ying’s shots, not allowing the Chinese Taipei shuttler any time to plan or outsmart her in any way.
However, Tai Tzu Ying brought her trademark game to the fore in the next two games, manufacturing space and using PV Sindhu’s pace on smashes to delicately place her drop shots. She was also helped by unforced errors to mount a comeback from a deficit at the break to win the second game 15-13.
The final game followed a similar script until game point when PV Sindhu pulled back a couple of points, but it only served as false hope as the Hyderabad Hunters shuttler committed another unforced error to hand an unassailable lead to the Bengaluru Raptors.
Hyderabad Hunters’ first win of the tie came courtesy the mixed doubles pair of N Sikki Reddy and Vladimir Ivanov, who pulled off a straight games 15-13, 15-11 victory over Eom Hye Won and Peng Soon Chan.
The Bengaluru Raptors had chosen this as their trump match and the loss meant that their lead in the tie was trimmed to two points with the Hyderabad Hunters finally shaking off their negative points tally to go t0 0-2 in the tie.
However, B Sai Praneeth outclassed Malaysian Daren Liew 15-11, 15-6 in the final match to cap off a satisfying night for the Bengaluru Raptors.
Premier Badminton League points table
With a first win of the season in their bag, the Bengaluru Raptors have leapfrogged to fourth place with 12 points, replacing the Awadhe Warriors. The Hyderabad Hunters currently hold the wooden spoon with just six points on the board so far.
The Chennai Superstarz and Pune 7 Aces lead the Premier Badminton League points table with 15 and 14 points respectively but the latter have a fixture in hand and could potentially go top on Saturday after their tie against the North Eastern Warriors.