Badminton

Awadhe Warriors stage recovery to kick off PBL campaign with a win

The Lucknow-based side started their season late but are placed third on the table already.

By Rahul Venkat ·

The Awadhe Warriors did not need any time to warm-up as they pulled off a 4-3 win against the North Eastern Warriors in their first tie of the season at the Jawaharlal Indoor Stadium in Chennai on Thursday.

The Awadhe Warriors won the first match of the night as Dane Christinna Pedersen teamed up with Korea’s Ko Sung Hyun to defeat the North Eastern Warriors’ Thai-Korean pair of Bodin Isara and Kim Ha Na after a tough fight.

Bodin Isara and Kim Ha Na easily won the first game 15-8 but were stung 11-15 in the second. The third game ran long as the teams continually exchanged points and it went down to the wire before Christinna Pedersen and Ko Sung Hyun took the deciding point and gave Awadhe Warriors their first points of the new season.

Lee Cheuk Yiu wins thrilling trump match

The second match lasted the full three games as well but this time the points went to the North Eastern Warriors as Hong Kong’s Lee Cheuk Yiu came from a game down to beat his senior compatriot Wong Wing Ki Vincent 13-15, 15-10, 15-11.

World no. 18, Lee Cheuk Yiu was under a bit of pressure as the North Eastern Warriors had chosen him for their trump match after his straight games win over B Sai Praneeth last time out and the youngster was looking down the barrel after losing the first game.

But he stepped up in the second game, creating situations that enabled him to use his main strength, the smash, as often as possible. It worked for him as he took the game 15-10 and then repeated the strategy in the final game to ensure two points for the North Eastern Warriors.

Canadian Michelle Li took the North Eastern Warriors to a 3-1 lead in the next fixture, getting the better of Awadhe Warriors’ American recruit, Beiwen Zhang 15-13, 15-14 in the night’s first straight games result.

It was a very close encounter as the scoreline suggests but the world no. 8 Michelle Li showed why she was ranked in the top ten as she came out trumps in the crucial moments.  She set-up Beiwen Zhang smartly, forcing her to recover cross-court shots at strange angles, before hitting a smash to win the decider point in the second game.

Awadhe Warriors win it in the decider

The Awadhe Warriors pulled things back to 3-3 in the fourth match when their doubles pair of Ko Sung Hyun and Shin Baek Cheol prevailed 8-15, 15-14, 15-12 in their trump match against Krishna Prasad Garaga and Lee Yong Dae.

Ko Sung Hyun and Shin Baek Cheol were outsmarted by the young Krishna Prasad Garaga, who took the lead role over the vastly experienced Lee Yong Dae in the first game and conceded it 8-15.

They kept their wits about them in the second game though, avoiding the negative point when they took the deciding point to win 15-14 and then played well in the third to take the two points and take the tie to the decider men’s singles.

Awadhe Warriors’ Subhankar Dey won the tie for the team, defeating Thai Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk in straight games, 15-9, 15-13.

The Indian lost the first point of the match but then took the game by the scruff of its neck, going into the break in the lead and then won the game soon after. He was down 1-5 in the second game but pulled things back to 5-5 and then took it to 10-10.

In the race to the 15-point mark, the Thai left-hander could not win consecutive points as Subhankar Dey took the final two points and let out a roar to savour the victory.

Premier Badminton League points table

With four points in their kitty in their first game of the season, the Awadhe Warriors lie third on the points table behind leaders Chennai Superstarz and North Eastern Warriors, who have nine and seven respectively.