Defending champions Bengaluru Raptors were handed a second straight loss in the ongoing Premier Badminton League, this time at the hands of Chennai Superstarz, who registered an exciting 4-3 win at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium in Chennai on Friday.
Though the champions took an early lead in the tie courtesy a dominating win in the opening mixed doubles match, a trump encounter for the Raptors, that was the best that they could muster as the Superstarz brought their A-Game to the fore when it mattered to win the contest.
Bengaluru Raptors start brightly
Coming on the back of loss in their previous tie, Bengaluru Raptors were keen to start the encounter on a positive note. And the duo of Chan Peng Soon and Eom Hye Won did exactly that as they outclassed Dhruv Kapila and Jessica Pugh to win the mixed doubles tie 15-7, 15-8.
The Raptors’ combination that featured the Olympic silver medallist Chan Peng Soon and the two-time World Championships medallist Eom Hye Won barely let their opponents settle as the two ruled the court with their quick-fiery returns and hard-hitting smashes.
While the Raptors had Chan Peng Soon and Eom Hye Won to thank for their splendid start, Chennai Superstarz banked on the former World Championships bronze medallist Tommy Sugiarto to help them register the first points of the tie.
Sugiarto didn’t disappoint as he banked on some fine stroke making to humble B Sai Praneeth in three games.
While the Indonesian took a closely fought opening game 15-13, Sai Praneeth fought back valiantly to race to a 10-7 lead in the second before wrapping up the game 15-10 to draw parity.
The third game was a close affair too as the two shuttlers exchanged points frequently before Sugiarto shifted gears in the dying moments to win the tie 15-13, 10-15, 15-11.
Lakshya Sen shows his quality
Later, one of India’s rising badminton stars, Lakshya Sen, followed on Tommy Sugiarto’s footsteps to win his match, a trump match for the Chennai team, to hand the hosts a 3-2 lead in the tie.
Silver medallist at the 2018 Youth Olympics, Lakshya Sen, sent Bengaluru’s Brice Leverdez packing 15-5, 15-4 in a match that lasted just over 30 minutes.
Another youngster in the Chennai ranks, Gayatri Gopichand, however, couldn’t follow suit as the 16-year-old failed to build on her opening game win against the world number two Tai Tzu Ying as the shuttler from the Chinese Taipei rallied to score a 13-15, 15-6, 15-6 to push the tie into the decider.
In the fifth match, Satwiksairaj Ranki Reddy and Dhruv Kapila too chose to take the difficult way as they rallied from a game down to beat Chan Peng Soon and Rian Agung Saputro 13-15, 15-9, 15-9 to hand the Chennai team a well deserved win.
Premier Badminton League points table
The loss means Raptors sit third on the points table with six points while the Superstarz are on top of the points table with 13 points to their name.