B Sai Praneeth shines as Bengaluru Raptors clinch PBL 2020 title

Beats Lee Cheuk Yiu before Raptors down North Eastern Warriors 4-2 to successfully defend the Premier Badminton League title

By Andre Pitts ·

Bengaluru Raptors became Premier Badminton League’s first-ever two-time champions after beating North Eastern Warriors 4-2 in the final at the G. M. C. Balayogi SATS Indoor Stadium in Hyderabad on Sunday.

B Sai Praneeth, Tai Tzu Ying and the mixed doubles pair of Peng Soon Chan and Eom Hye Won won their matches for Bengaluru Raptors, while Bodin Isara and Lee Yong Dae beat Arun George and Rian Agung Saputro for North Eastern Warriors’ only win of the evening. 

B Sai Praneeth gives Bengaluru an ideal start

The opening match of the final pitted world no. 11 B Sai Praneeth against world no. 18 Lee Cheuk Yiu. B Sai Praneeth looked to attack from the outset in his bid to give Bengaluru Raptors a good start but Lee Cheuk Yiu controlled the net well and opted for placement instead of power while maneuvering the shuttle.

He led 8-6 at the turn in the opening game and even though B Sai Praneeth didn’t make it easy for him, Lee Cheuk Yiu took the first game 15-14. The second game saw a reversal of fortunes with B Sai Praneeth leading 8-6 at the turn before going on to comfortably win it 15-9.

With the wind now in his sails, Praneeth upped his intensity and proceeded to steamroll Lee Cheuk Yiu in the final game. His delicate slices and devastating smashes gave him an 8-0 lead at the turn and eventually led to a 15-3 win to get Bengaluru Raptors on the scoreboard.

Bodin Isara, Lee Yong Dae get a trump win

The following match was North Eastern Warriors’ trump match and their men’s doubles duo of Bodin Isara and Lee Yong Dae had the responsibility of getting them the win against Bengaluru Raptors’ Arun George and Rian Agung Saputro.

Bodin Isara and Lee Yong Dae began well, controlling the court excellently to win the first game 15-11. Arun George and Rian Agung Saputro came back strongly to win the second game 15-13 and even had a match point in the final game. 

However, Bodin Isara and Lee Yong Dae saved the match point and held their nerve to close the game 15-14 and put North Eastern Warriors ahead of Bengaluru Raptors on the scoreboard having won their trump match.

The third match of the evening featured women’s singles world no. 2 Tai Tzu Ying of Bengaluru Raptors taking on North Eastern Warriors’ Michelle Li, who’s ranked world no. 10. Despite both players being in the world top 10, Tai Tzu Ying got through the match without many hiccups, beating Michelle Li 15-9, 15-12 to get Bengaluru Raptors to 2-2 in the tie.

Peng Soon Chan, Eom Hye Won secure PBL 2020 title

With the next match being Bengaluru Raptors’ trump match, their mixed doubles pair of Peng Soon Chan and Eom Hye Won simply had to get the better of North Eastern Warriors’ Krishna Prasad Garaga and Kim Ha Na to win the final. Similarly, a win for North Eastern Warriors would see them clinch the title, making it a winner takes all duel.

Peng Soon Chan and Eom Hye Won had a narrow 8-7 lead at the turn of the first game but Krishna Prasad Garaga and Kim Ha Na fought back to get to a game point. Peng Soon Chan and Eom Hye Won, though, showed their resolve by saving a game point before winning it 15-14.

The second game was as tight as the first, with Bengaluru Raptors leading 8-7 at the turn once again. However, this time it was North Eastern Warriors that saved a championship point before going on to win the game 15-14.

The final game of the evening witnessed North Eastern Warriors play some loose shots under pressure, leading to Bengaluru Raptors seizing the advantage and finally winning the game 15-12 to clinch the title. 

By doing so, Bengaluru didn’t just become the first team in PBL history to successfully defend their title, but they will also go down as the league’s first two-time champions.