New Delhi, Jan 8 (IANS) The Delhi Acers came out with a thumping performance to win their second match of the Premier Badminton League (PBL), defeating the Bengaluru Top Guns 5-2 here on Friday. The national capital has proven to be extremely lucky for the hosts as they won both their ties at the Siri Fort Sports Complex on Thursday and Friday to make their route easier for the semifinals. Before coming to New Delhi, the Acers had had a very poor start to the six-team tournament, losing both their ties in Lucknow.
On the other hand, things are not looking great for the Top Guns who have now lost all four of their league ties yet. With only one tie to go before the knockouts, semis appear to be a distant dream for the Bengaluru-based team. The Acers got the perfect start they required as Ajay Jayaram drubbed Sameer Verma of the Top Guns 15-11, 15-12 to make it 1-0 for the hosts.
“It was an incredible start to the tie to build pressure on the opponent. I have played a few matches against Sameer before and knew his style which helped me in my strategy,” said Jayaram. “I just put pressure on him from the first service and managed to continue till the last minute. I played my natural game and kept the game tight.” The hosts then put their Trump Match on the experienced Malaysian shoulders of Koo Keat Kien and Tan Boon Heong, who did not disappoint and defeated Hoon Thien How and Khim Wah Lim 15-9, 15-10 to earn two points and make it 3-0 for the Acers. “It was a very tough match as they proved strong in their defence. However, we stepped on the court with counter strategies and played according to that. Our aggressive gameplans worked well and we are very happy to win the Trump Match,” said Kien. Englishman Rajiv Ouseph then continued his impressive run in the PBL by drubbing Top Guns skipper Kidambi Srikanth 4-15, 15-11, 15-9 to seal it for the Acers with a score of 4-0. Ouseph, who also defeated reigning Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap of the Hyderabad Hunters on Thursday, came back from a game down to drub the $80,000 buy of the Top Guns in the second men’s singles. “It was a great match for me as I played extremely well. I was a bit nervous in the first game and couldn’t get a proper rhythm, which cost me the first game,” said Ouseph. “However, I understood Srikanth’s game and played according to his style. I focused more on my surprise shots and managed to inject the shuttle into the spot. After winning the second game, I got more confidence in the third and eventually won it.”
Having already lost the tie, the Bengaluru-based team gambled on women’s singles dead rubber on Suo Di for their Trump Match and the Chinese did not disappoint. Suo easily beat Shikha Gautam of the Acers 15-5, 15-6 to make it 2-4 for the visitors. In the last dead rubber, Acers’ mixed doubles pair of Gabrielle Adcock and Koot Keat Kien took care of Ashwini Ponnappa and Khim Wah Lim by defeating them 15-14, 9-15, 15-12.