Badminton

Chennai Superstarz record second win on the trot at PBL

The table-toppers were superior in the first three matches, including the trump one.

By Rahul Venkat ·

The Chennai Superstarz won their second fixture in three days at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium, this time against the Mumbai Rockets.

Chennai Superstarz’s mixed doubles pair of Dhruv Kapila and Britain's Jessica Pugh won the first match against the Mumbai Rockets’ Korean-Indonesian pair of Kim Gi Jung and Pia Zebadiah Bernadeth, 15-10, 15-14.

Teenager Lakshya Sen then gave the Chennai Superstarz a two-point lead in the tie when he got the better of Korean Lee Dong Keun. The 18-year-old Lakshya Sen, who was chosen for the trump match last time around, did not have to grind as hard this time, winning in straight games, 15-12, 15-10.

Sugiarto comes from behind in trump match

The most exciting game of the tie came in the third fixture when world no. 21 Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia had a face-off against Parupalli Kashyap, playing his first game of the new season for the Mumbai Rockets.

Tommy Sugiarto enjoyed a 4-3 head-to-head record against the Indian but Parupalli Kashyap had won their last match in 2012, setting up a spicy encounter. And it turned out exactly as was hoped.

The duo were neck and neck for most of the first game but the Indian edged out his opponent on the decider point to take the lead. However, Tommy Sugiarto came roaring back in the second, recovering smashes in his trademark style and took the game, 15-10.

Spurred on by that momentum, the Indonesian looked especially ominous in the third game, racing to a 5-0 lead at one point and went into the break, 8-2. Parupalli Kashyap then won four points in a row to get it back to 8-6 but his opponent paid him back in equal measure to go up 12-6.

From there on, Tommy Sugiarto remained calm to win the three points he needed and closed out the game 15-7 to take a 4-0 lead in the tie, ensuring consecutive wins for the Chennai Superstarz.

Mumbai Rockets score first points of new season

The Mumbai Rockets finally opened their tally in the fourth match of the night when the Korean pair of Kim Gi Jung, playing his second match of the night, and Kim Sa Rang won against B Sumeeth Reddy and Dhruv Kapila, 15-9, 15-12.

The Chennai Superstarz pair lost the first game easily but learnt from it and competed much better in the second, keeping the points difference to a minimum for most of it. However, they could not launch a comeback like Tommy Sugiarto and went down in straight games.

The final match of the night pitted youngsters, Gayatri Gopichand of the Chennai Superstarz against Mumbai Rockets’ Shriyanshi Pardeshi and it was a memorable encounter for the former despite losing 15-14, 5-15, 13-15.

The 16-year-old Gayatri Gopichand won her maiden game in the Premier Badminton League when she prevailed 15-14 in the first one despite trailing for large parts of it. She pulled back impressively though and roared in delight when Shriyanshi Pardeshi’s shot hit the net to give her the deciding point.

She gave up the second game tamely, falling 5-15 but was immense in the third, using her drop shots to stay ahead of her opponent for much of the game. However, while leading 13-11, the pressure told and Gayatri Gopichand lost the next four points to concede the game and match.

Premier Badminton League points table

The Chennai Superstarz currently lead the Premier Badminton League points table with nine points from 10 matches, enjoying a healthy five-point lead over second-placed North Eastern Warriors.

The Bengaluru Raptors and Mumbai Rockets are tied on third with three points each while the Hyderabad Hunters are fifth with two points, courtesy of PV Sindhu’s trump match triumph against Chennai Superstarz. The Awadhe Warriors and Pune 7 Aces have not played any matches in the new season yet.

Awadhe Warriors, however, will face the North Eastern Warriors on Thursday while the Pune 7 Aces play their first game on January 25 against the Mumbai Rockets.