Badminton

Awadhe Warriors bounce back to win maiden PBL home game

The Lucknow-based team started with a loss but crucially won the Mumbai Rockets’ trump match to finish them off.

By Rahul Venkat ·

Awadhe Warriors treated the home fans to a brilliant 5-0 win over Mumbai Rockets at the Babu Banarasi Das U.P. Badminton Academy in Lucknow on Tuesday.

The night did not start off well for them though as the pair of Dane Christinna Pedersen and South Korean Ko Sung Hyun lost to Kim Sa Rang and Pia Zebadiah Bernadeth, 9-15, 14-15 in the mixed doubles fixture.

The Mumbai Rockets pair were especially good with their net play which helped them prevail during the crucial points, eventually winning the decider point in the second game to start off on a winning note.

Awadhe Warriors win trump matches

Awadhe Warriors’ American recruit, Beiwen Zhang gave them the lead in the very next match as she dominated Mumbai Rockets’ Kuhoo Garg, 15-3, 15-4 to win their trump match for the tie.

Beiwen Zhang, ranked 14 in the world, did not allow any breathing space to the young Indian, placing her shots with precision and using her powerful smash when needed to come out on top.

Hong Kong’s Wong Wing Ki Vincent sealed the win for the Awadhe Warriors in the next fixture against Parupalli Kashyap, winning 15-8, 15-10. The loss in the trump match for the Mumbai Rockets meant that they lost the point they had gained in the first match of the night.

They were tied at 6-6 in the first game when the Awadhe Warriors’ shuttler began being more aggressive with his shot-making and forced Parupalli Kashyap into several unforced errors.

Parupalli Kashyap, who enjoyed a 2-0 head-to-head record against the Hong Kong national, could do nothing in the second game to mount a comeback and ended up costing ground for Mumbai Rockets.

Ajay Jayaram makes first match memorable

Ajay Jayaram, playing his first match in this edition of the Premier Badminton League, made it one to remember as he came from a game down to beat Lee Dong Keun, 12-15, 15-6, 15-7.

The Indian was visibly frustrated in the first game, going down by a three-point margin, which raised Mumbai Rockets’ hope of getting a point back on the board. However, Ajay Jayaram changed his approach post the break, deciding to go ultra-offensive.

He was relentless with his attacking shots, hitting a 334 kmph smash winner at one point, to deflate Lee Dong Keun, who won a combined total of 13 points in the remaining two games and conceded the match tamely.

The final nail in Mumbai Rockets’ coffin was hammered in by Awadhe Warriors’ South Korean pair of Ko Sung Hyun, who made amends for his mixed doubles loss and Shin Baek Cheol, who won 14-15, 15-10, 15-14 against compatriots, Kim Gi Jung and Kim Sa Rang.

It was an intense battle in all three games as both sides played some scintillating, fast-paced badminton and the Awadhe Warriors pair were rewarded for holding their nerves and getting their smashes in at crucial moments.

Premier Badminton League points table

With their second win of the season, the Awadhe Warriors now sit in second on the Premier Badminton League table with 10 points, three behind runaway leaders, Chennai Superstarz with the unbeaten Pune 7 Aces at third place, with nine points.