Chennai Superstarz take back top spot at PBL 2020

The team were given a tough fight by the Awadhe Warriors but managed to clinch the tie in the final match.

By Rahul Venkat ·

The Chennai Superstarz beat Awadhe Warriors 4-3 in a thrilling tie in the Premier Badminton League at the G.M.C Balayogi SATS Indoor Stadium in Hyderabad on Saturday to go back to the top of the table.

Teenager Lakshya Sen comprehensively won the first match of the night for the Chennai Superstarz, the men’s singles against senior compatriot, Subhankar Dey 15-7, 15-8. The margin of victory was a testament to the growing rumour of Lakshya Sen being India’s next big star.

The score was tied at 5-5 in the first game but the 18-year-old Lakshya Sen ran away with it thereafter, using his long reach to recover the Awadhe Warriors’ shuttler’s smashes, and landing a few of his own to build a massive 14-5 lead. He conceded three points but wrapped up the first game soon.

The second game was a similar affair as Subhankar Dey refrained from hitting any smashes and it played into Lakshya Sen’s plans nicely. The latter won the game by giving away one more point than the previous game but dominated nonetheless.

Lead changes hands in consecutive fixtures

Awadhe Warriors hit back at the Chennai Superstarz in the very next match as their men’s doubles pair of Ko Sung Hyun and PBL debutant, Ivan Sozonov were pushed hard but ultimately triumphed 12-15, 15-11, 15-10 against the all-Indian pair of Dhruv Kapila and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy.

The Chennai Superstarz duo won the first game but were not as sharp or quick in the next two games, going down by four and five-point margins, and with it being the latter’s trump match, they took a 2-1 lead in the tie.

However, Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia brought back the Chennai Superstarz’ one-point lead in the very next match as he overcame the challenge of the Awadhe Warriors’ Hong Kong recruit, Vincent Wong Wing Ki 15-10, 15-8.

Vincent Wong Wing Ki was leading 5-2 in the first game but the Indonesian was not about to let go of his winning streak so easily. He fought back to take the lead at the break and allowed his opponent only five more points before closing out the game.

The Chennai Superstarz shuttler did not face many problems in the second game as well, comfortably winning it when a Vincent Wong Wing Ki forehand hit the net.

Gayatri Gopichand impresses again

American Beiwen Zhang brought the Awadhe Warriors on level terms in the women’s singles match as she easily stepped past 16-year-old Gayatri Gopichand 15-10, 15-5, with the latter displaying impressive resolve once again.

Gayatri Gopichand, the daughter of Pullela Gopichand, played well in the initial parts of the first game, going toe-to-toe with Beiwen Zhang and even tied the score 8-8 but could not maintain that intensity and went on to lose the game 10-15.

She ran out of steam in the second game as the American shuttler was all over her and closed out the match quickly.

The mixed doubles duo of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Jessica Pugh then won Chennai Superstarz the tie with a closely-fought 15-11, 13-15, 15-14 win against the Awadhe Warriors’ Ko Sung Hyun and Christinna Pedersen.

Apart from the first game, the match was an exciting one to watch with both sides unwilling to give up. They matched each other at every step but the Chennai Superstarz eventually won when Satwiksairaj Rankireddy placed his drop shot in the only empty space to win the decider point in the final game.

PBL 2020 points table

The Chennai Superstarz regained their place at the top of the PBL 2020 points table with 19 points, leading the North Eastern Warriors by a single point, the latter having earlier replaced them with a 5-0 win against the Pune 7 Aces. 

The Awadhe Warriors meanwhile have jumped up a place to fourth with 13 points, replacing defending champions Bengaluru Raptors in the process.