The Premier Badminton League witnessed a thrilling contest between the North Eastern Warriors and defending champions, Bengaluru Raptors, led by world no. 2 Tai Tzu Ying, in just its second day with the former prevailing 4-3 after a breathtaking fixture that went back and forth.
Bengaluru Raptors won the first match of the day as Malaysian Chan Peng Soon, a silver medallist at Rio 2016, teamed up with multiple World Championship winner, Eom Hye-won to defeat the North Eastern Warriors pair of South Koreans, Lee Yong Dae and Kim Ha-na, 15-8, 15-11.
The latter pair were no walkovers. Lee Yong Dae is the gold medallist at Beijing 2008 and recently won the Malaysian Masters while Kim Ha-na is a former world no. 1. However, the pair had no answers to the Bengaluru Raptors’ gameplay.
The Indian, ranked no. 11 in the world and bronze medal winner at the 2019 World Championships, could not match up to Lee Cheuk Yiu on the day.
Tai Tzu Ying dominates trump match
World no. 2 Tai Tzu Ying gave the Bengaluru Raptors a two-point lead in the next match as she expectedly dominated North Eastern Warriors’ Ashmita Chaliha, 15-7, 15-5.
The Chinese Taipei star, who was making her return to the PBL, relegated the young Indian to fleeting moments of excitement with her typically engrossing style of play. Ashmita Chaliha showed impressive resolve after trailing 4-0 to pull the points difference down to two at 6-4.
However, she could not do much more as Tai Tzu Ying ran away with the first game soon.
The former world no. 1 did not even allow Ashmita Chaliha to reach seven points in the second, sealing the match at 15-5 and ensuring the Bengaluru Raptors won their trump match.
North Eastern Warriors hit back
Lee Yong Dae tasted victory in his second match of the day as he teamed up with Thai Bodin Isara to defeat Bengaluru Raptors’ Indian-Indonesian pair of Arun George and Rian Agung Saputro, 15-12, 15-6.
The tie, which was North Eastern Warriors’ trump match for the night, ensured that they got back on level terms. With the fixture tied at 3-3, it all came down to the second men’s singles of the night.
It turned out to be a drab affair as North Eastern Warriors’ Thai recruit, Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk easily got the better of Frenchman Brice Leverdez, 15-7, 15-8, which ensured that the defending champions started their new campaign on a losing note.