Pune 7 Aces secured a semi-final spot in the Premier Badminton League after a 2-1 win over Hyderabad Hunters at the G. M. C. Balayogi SATS Indoor Stadium on Wednesday.
Wins in the doubles by Chirag Shetty and Hendra Setiawan as well as Mithun Manjunath in the singles gave Pune 7 Aces a solid start that led them to victory.
Hyderabad Hunters fought back through wins by PV Sindhu and their mixed doubles pairing of Vladimir Ivanov and N Sikki Reddy. However, Kean Lew Yoh won his singles match comfortably to help Pune 7 Aces advance in PBL 2020.
Pune 7 Aces began the evening with a convincing win by doubles pair Chirag Shetty and Hendra Setiawan over Hyderabad Hunters’ Ben Lane and Sean Vendy. Chirag Shetty and Hendra Setiawan made quick work of their opponents, beating them 15-12, 15-9.
Youngsters Mithun Manjunath, Priyanshu Rajawat star in thriller
The second match of the evening – Hyderabad Hunters’ trump match – saw two youngsters take centerstage as Pune 7 Aces’ Mithun Manjunath went up against Hyderabad Hunters’ Priyanshu Rajawat. Mithun Manjunath began well but Priyanshu Rajawat gradually grew into the game, making it a tight affair at 10-10. However, Mithun Manjunath held his nerve and went on to take the first game 15-11.
The second game witnessed Priyanshu Rajawat up his game and open a healthy point cushion thanks to a flurry of stunning smashes. Even though Mithun Manjunath managed to put Priyanshu Rajawat under pressure later on in the game, the Hyderabad Hunters man eventually won the second game15-11 to take the match into the decider.
The final game was another close one but Mithun Manjunath eventually won it 15-13. Even though Mithun Manjunath led 8-2 at one stage, Priyanshu Rajawat came roaring back and forced him to fight hard for the win.
PV Sindhu leads Hyderabad Hunters’ fightback
The third match featured world no. 6 PV Sindhu facing off against Pune 7 Aces’ Rituparna Das. The 24-year-old PV Sindhu showed her class by producing a clinical performance that saw her get the better of Rituparna Das 15-7, 15-8.
The next match of the evening was Pune 7 Aces’ trump match and it pitted mixed doubles pair Chris Adcock and Gabrielle Adcock against Hyderabad Hunters’ Vladimir Ivanov and N Sikki Reddy. After PV Sindhu’s win, Vladimir Ivanov and N Sikki Reddy continued Hyderabad Hunters’ momentum by winning the first game 15-9.
A confident Vladimir Ivanov and N Sikki Reddy then began the second game in an aggressive manner but the Adcock duo showed their experience to claw their way back into the game and win it 15-11. The third game, though, was a much more straightforward one for Hyderabad Hunters as Vladimir Ivanov and N Sikki Reddy won the game 15-8 to make it all to play for in the final contest of the evening.
Kean Lew Yoh secures the win for Pune 7 Aces
Sourabh Verma began the final match confidently for Hyderabad Hunters and even led 8-7 at the turn. Pune 7 Aces’ Kean Lew Yoh, though, smashed his way into the lead and went on to narrowly win the first game 15-14. The Singaporean then went on to dominate the next game and beat Sourabh Verma 15-10 in the second game to help Pune 7 Aces to victory.
Premier Badminton League table
The win puts Pune 7 Aces in third spot in the standings behind fellow semi-finalists North Eastern Warriors and Chennai Superstarz. Hyderabad Hunters finished their PBL 2020 campaign in sixth spot with 11 points.