Mumbai, Jan 3 (IANS) Despite a dominating performance by World No.9 Kidambi Srikanth, which saw him beat the legendary Lee Chong Wei, Hyderabad Hunters drubbed Bengaluru Top Guns 3-2 in the second tie of the Premier Badminton League (PBL) here on Sunday. Srikanth got the better of former World No.1 Chong Wei of Malaysia 15-12, 6-15, 15-7 to win the men’s singles contest in style at the National Sports Club Of India (NSCI). Srikanth got off to a flying start in the first game but Chong Wei came back strongly to win the second to level the match. But it was the Indian who came out better in the third game to clinch the contest.
The Hyderabad-based team made the best use of the Trump Match to gain two valuable points to defeat the Top Guns. While the Top Guns, who selected their men’s singles match as their Trump Match, lost to have negative points. The tie began with the women’s singles match where Suo Di of Top Guns beat K. Supanida of Hunters 15-8, 15-11 to take a 1-0 lead. “It was a tough match undoubtedly. I won the first game comfortably and I was expecting her to give a tough fight in the second. She came back strong but I kept a hold on my play and didn’t allow her to take the match into the deciding game. I am happy I stood up to the expectations of my team,” Suo said. Next up was the men’s doubles match which was the ‘Trump Match for the Hunters. Despite losing the opening game, Carsten Mogensen and Markis Kido of the Hunters came back strongly to beat Hoon Thien How and Khim Wah Lim of Top Guns 13-15, 15-9, 15-14. With the win, Hyderabad were 2-1 up. This was followed with the men’s singles match between reigning Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap of the Hunters and Sameer Verma of Top Guns.
The Bengaluru-based team had a chance to win their Trump Match and take the lead but the opportunity was wasted as Kashyap beat Verma 15-14, 15-13. After the win, Hunters were 3-0 up as Top Guns a point for losing their Trump Match. “He played really good as he gave me a tough clash. He came back strongly post a slow start. We won our Trump game which gave us the bonus point and the lead. A win on their Trump game would have meant they lose the one point that they had,” Kashyap said. The penultimate match of the tie saw Top Gun’s mixed doubles pairing of Ashwini Ponappa and Joachim Fischer Nielsen beat Hunters’ Jwala Gutta and Kido 15-13, 15-13. Ponnappa and Nielsen got the win, helping the Bengaluru-based team gain a point. But despite their win, Hunters led 3-1. “The win was important for our team. We are happy that we did not allow pressure to get the better of us. Both Jwala and Markis were very good but we managed to keep hold of the game which helped us bag the match,” Ashwini said.
The last match saw Srikanth beat Chong Wei in a nail-biting encounter but Hyderabad won the tie 3-2. “I am happy to win against a top player like Chong Wei. I am now feeling more confident and will do my best in the upcoming matches,” Srikanth said.