Pune 7 Aces begin PBL campaign with a fine win

Chirag Shetty, Hendra Setiawan led from the front as Pune 7 Aces beat neighbours Mumbai Rockets 5-2.

By Naveen Peter ·

Pune 7 Aces romped home to a comfortable 5-2 win over Mumbai Rockets as the Premier Badminton League (PBL) caravan moved to Lucknow on Saturday. 

At the Babu Banarasi Das Indoor Stadium in Lucknow, the Pune side produced a fine show to record their first win of the season against one of the most consistent teams in the league. 

The Pune team began by winning the opening men’s doubles tie that saw Chirag Shetty and Hendra Setiawan beat Kim Gi Jung and Kim Sa Rang, while in the women’s singles, Rituparna Das extended the lead with a win in the trump match against Shreyanshi Pardeshi.

Later, Kean Yew Loh beat the experienced Parupalli Kashyap in the men’s singles to put the result beyond doubt.

Chirag Shetty, Hendra Setiawan start well

Chirag Shetty and Hendra Setiawan ensured that the tone for Saturday’s win was set from the very beginning as the two produced a fine show to get the better of Kim Gi Jung and Kim Sa Rang in the opening doubles tie.

Indian badminton doubles player Chirag Shetty is a fan of Mumbai Indians’ Rohit Sharma and Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Virat Kohli.

While the South Korean duo did well to stay on their opponents’ heel and knick the opening game 15-14, Chirag Shetty and Hendra Setiawan ensured that they didn’t let the Koreans anywhere close to winning the tie as they raced home to a 14-15, 15-5, 15-6 win to hand Pune the opening point. 

Later, Rituparna Das too followed a similar pattern as the 23-year-old rallied from a game down to beat Shreyanshi Pardeshi in her trump match to extend Pune’s lead to 3-0. 

Though she was a bit rusty in the beginning, Rituparna Das eased into her rhythm as the encounter progressed to get the better of her opponent in just over 40 minutes. She won her match 11-5, 15-9, 15-9.

Dream debut for Kean Yew Loh 

Making his maiden foray into the Premier Badminton League, Kean Yew Loh couldn’t have asked for a better start as he lined up against one of India’s veteran shuttlers Parupalli Kashyap.

But the challenge staring at him barely seemed to bother the young Singaporean as the 22-year-old Kean Yew Loh dished out a fine show to beat his Indian opponent and had Pune 7 Aces an unassailable 4-0 lead in the tie. 

Kean Yew Loh was in control of his match from the opening point as he barely let Parupalli Kashyap settle into a rhythm and made the former Commonwealth Games gold medallist fight hard for every point. 

The Indian couldn’t handle the tempo for long as he surrendered the match 7-15, 14-15.

Later, though Lee Dong Keun won his men’s singles tie against Kazumasa Sakai, the Adcocks -- Chris and Gabrielle -- went on to win the final tie of the evening to wrap up a fine win for the Pune 7 Aces.

Premier Badminton League points table

Saturday’s victory saw Pune 7 Aces record their first points of the season to stay sixth while Mumbai Rockets continue to occupy the fifth spot on the points table. Sunday will see the Lucknow outfit Awadhe Warriors face Hyderabad Hunters.