Hyderabad champs

Hunters beat Blasters to win Premier Badminton League.

Hyderabad: The third edition of the Premier Badminton League could not have ended any better. Hyderabad shuttlers hunted down the Bengaluru Blasters in a thrilling final on Sunday night to begin their New Year in style.

With both sides locked at 2-2 (matches tally) and 3-3 (points tally), the tie went down to the last match, in which the Hyderabad Hunters mixed doubles pair of Pia Zebadiah Bernadet & Satwiksairaj Rankireddy defused the Blasters arsenal as they cornered Kim Sa Rang & Sikki Reddy 15-11, 15-12 to set off celebrations at the Gachibowli Stadium.

Earlier, after a dominating start from Bengaluru Blasters, Carolina Marin brought the Hunters back into the game after subduing stiff competition from Kirsty Glimour. Marin, with her brilliant smashes and a solid attacking game brought the crowd on their feet after beating Gilmour in straight games — 15-8, 15-14.
Blasters got off to a sound start as they led the Hunters after three matches to exert pressure.

Blasters had the better hand after riding on a scintillating performance from Viktor Axelsen who completely demolished local lad Sai Praneeth 15-8, 15-10 to put his side 2-1 ahead (matches tally) and 3-2 (points tally) to silence the partisan crowd.

In the second men’s singles of the night, which was also the trump match for the Blasters, Axelsen opened up a 4-2 lead. The Dane then banked on repetitive errors from Praneeth to pocket the first game 15-8.

In the second game too, Praneeth looked out of touch and had no answers to Axelsen’s brilliant defence and attack. Accurate placement and position meant Axelsen surged to a 11-3 lead. Praneeth could not keep a check on his errors and saw himself faltering in the second game too, to go down 10-15.

Meanwhile, Hyderabad Hunters who were outclassed in the first match, heaved a sigh of relief when Lee Hyun Il clinched a straight games victory over Subhanker Dey.

The home side suffered an early setback when Markis Kido & Yoo Yeon Seong were outclassed 9-15, 10-15 by Boe Mathias & Kim Sa Rang in the men’s doubles.

However, in the second match, trump for Hyderabad, experienced Korean Lee Hyun looked determined from the start and swept past Shubhanker in straight games.

The 2017 Denmark Open runner-up raced to a 3-1 lead. But, young Shubhanker quickly corrected his errors and closed the gap to 3-4. Both players continued to trade blows but the the 37-year-old Lee went on rampage and made his opponent dance to his tune to take the first game at 15-7.

In the second game, Subhanker opened a 3-0 lead to put pressure on the Korean. However, Lee fought back hard aggressively to snatch the lead and sat pretty favourite at the mid-game 8-5.

The Bengaluru player later fought back hard and took the game to 13-each, before Lee forged ahead and wrapped up the proceedings in style to leave Subhanker dejected. The scores read 15-13.

Earlier in the first match, Chennai’s men's doubles pair of Boe Mathias & Kim Sa Rang drew first blood and were 8-4 at the interval of the first game. Later, the Blasters players accelerated their attack to take the first game 15-9. In the second game too, the Blasters pair were in no mood to relax and started from where they left to win the game and match at 15-10.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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