The Pune 7 Aces relinquished their chance of going top of the Premier Badminton League points table after a morale-crushing 0-5 loss to the North Eastern Warriors in the day’s first tie at the G.M.C Balayogi SATS Indoor Stadium in Hyderabad on Saturday.
The North Eastern Warriors sealed Pune 7 Aces’ fate in the first three matches, winning all of them, including the latter’s trump fixture to take a tie-winning 3-(-1) lead.
Thai Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk started proceedings for the North Eastern Warriors with a straight game 15-13, 15-14 win over Kazumasa Sakai. The Japanese fought for every point but faltered in the deciding moments.
The mixed doubles pair of Lee Yong Dae and Kim Ha Na delivered the telling blow in the next match as they took a commanding 15-6, 15-8 win over the Pune 7 Aces’ husband-wife pair of Chris Adcock and Gabrielle Adcock.
The fact that it was Pune 7 Aces’ choice for trump match made the tame loss even worse for the yet unbeaten team in PBL 2020.
Lee Cheuk Yiu of Malaysia was the next person to get on the winning train for the North Eastern Warriors when he won the day’s third consecutive straight games match 15-12, 15-8 against Singaporean Kean Yew Loh.
Michele Li pushed all the way
The most enthralling match was the women’s singles fixture between the North Eastern Warriors’ Michele Li and Indian youngster, Rituparna Das as the latter almost threatened an upset over the world no. 10 Canadian before falling 8-15, 15-13, 13-15.
Pune 7 Aces’ Rituparna Das raced to a 5-2 lead early on in the first game but perhaps the pressure of leading against an accomplished shuttler got to her and made several unforced errors to allow Michele Li to go into the break in the lead. The Indian eventually lost the game.
She learnt from the experience though and applied it beautifully in the second. Rituparna Das once again took a big lead and ensured she went into the break ahead. The youngster used Michele Li’s plan of staying in the middle of the court against her, winning points with some marvellous drop shots and took the match to the deciding game.
The third game was once again a close affair with the women tied at 12-12 at one point before Michele Li used her experience to draw out a few unforced errors and ensure that she won the trump match for the North Eastern Warriors.
While their team may have suffered a loss, the pair of Chirag Shetty and Hendra Setiawan maintained their 100 per cent record in the season with a fairly easy 15-12, 15-8 win over the North Eastern Warriors’ pair of Bodin Isara and Krishna Prasad Garaga in the men’s doubles fixture.
PBL 2020 points table
The North Eastern Warriors’ big victory means that they have now gone to the top of the PBL 2020 points table with 18 points, three ahead of the Chennai Superstarz, who play the second tie of the night against the Awadhe Warriors.
The Pune 7 Aces could have reached the points table summit but instead find themselves in third place with 14 points on the board.