The Premier Badminton League (PBL) witnessed a mouthwatering final, with the Delhi Acers defeating Mumbai Rockets 4-3 at the Siri Fort Sports Complex in New Delhi on Sunday. And it was the foreign imports, Tommy Sugiarto and Rajiv Ouseph, who shone in the final of the competition.
Sugiarto and Ouseph, who won their respective single matches in the final, will take a lot of confidence from their PBL performances into the major upcoming competitions of the year, which includes the All England Open and a number of Super Series tournaments.
Both players might not have been able to make as much of a mark in the professional badminton circuit so far, owing to the dominance of players like Chen Long and Jan O Jorgensen, but if Sugiarto and Ouseph play like the way they did in the recently condluded PBL, they can win some big titles in 2016, and with it earn a big name for themselves.
The final, which was not only about Sugiarto and Ouseph, had everything that badminton fans aspired for -- quality shuttle play, stunning smashes, close calls, classic lobs and more, which made the summit clash worth every paisa for the fans in the stadium.
Delhi Acers vs Mumbai Rockets, as expected, had class written all over it, with shuttlers such as Sugiarto, Ouseph, HS Prannoy and Han Li playing some brilliant badminton.
Mumbai took a 1-0 lead after their mixed doubles pair of Kamilla Juhl and Vladmir Ivanov defeated Gabrielle Adcock and in the first match of the final.
With the Acers 0-1 down, Sugiarto had to come up with a win to help them draw level, and that is precisely what the Indonesian did, beating Prannoy in the second match of the night.
Sugiarto, who was the most impressive of all the players in the PBL, continued his unbeaten run as he played a brilliant match against Prannoy, who had won the first game. Sugiarto was put under severe test in the second and third games as well by the India shuttler, but the Indonesian showed his class and played an even better match to emerge victorious. The score read 13-15,15-9, 15-9.
"It was a tough match as it is the final tie of the League, so it's quite expected. Prannoy played very well today and gave me good competition. Losing the first match was a setback but I came back with better strategies. Happy to win the match, it's big boost to my team," PTI quoted Sugiarto as saying.
The men's doubles contest also witnessed a grand match with Delhi Acers pairing of Koo Keat Kien and Tan Boon Heaong playing quality badminton to clinch them a point.
But the Acers were put on the back foot as Mumbai's Han Li of China played a huge match in the Trump match, registering a victory against PC Thulasi , who initially looked very sharp, before fading away. With the Chinese clinching the Trump match 12-15, 15-8, 15-8 , it helped her team move one step closer of clinching PBL title.
With Acers trailing 2-3, they had to win their Trump match in order to snatch the title from Mumbai's hands. The Acers were represented by Rajiv Ouseph, who did just that, crushing Mumbai's hope of clinching the crown with a stunning win over RMV Gurusaidutt. The Acers won the PBL title 4-3 with Ouseph registering a straight game 15-11, 15-6 victory.