Defending champions Chennai Smashers' semi-final hopes were crushed a 3-2 win over Bengaluru Blasters in their final home match of the third season of Premier Badminton League (PBL) at Nehru Indoor Stadium in Chennai on Monday, January 8.
Chennai, who were at the bottom of the table with nine points before this match, started on a rousing note by winning the men's doubles and women's singles that fetched them three points. But thereafter, Bengaluru came roaring back by winning the two men's singles and the mixed doubles to garner two points from this duel, which they won 3-2.
It swelled their points tally to 15 and helped them displace Hyderabad Hunters (14 points) from the top.
It was not a bad day at all for Chennai as they garnered three points initially from their final league game. It puts them on par with Awadhe Warriors and Ahmedabad Smash Masters, all on 12 points each though Ahmedabad has played a match less.
Subhankar shines on PBL debut
Earlier, Chennai were cruising along well but Subhankar Dey threw a spanner in their works by shocking Brice Leverdez 15-12, 15-12. The Indian playing his first PBL match rattled the World No 24 Frenchman with an attacking display to help Bengaluru make a comeback in the tie.
The win helped Bengaluru collect their second point but since they had lost their Trump match their overall tally after four duels stood at 1.
Playing their final match of the season in front of a vociferous home crowd at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium, Chennai's grit was evident in the first men's doubles match when Yang Lee and B Sumeeth Reddy made a superb turnaround to upset Mathias Boe and Kim-Sa Ran 2-1. They lost the first game 8-15 but showed tremendous resilience in the next two tight games to win 15-14 and 15-13 to surge ahead 1-0.
The loss was a blow for Bangalore as they had nominated it as their Trump match, which meant they ended up with a negative point (-1).
Sindhu makes light work of Gilmour
Sindhu then took charge in her Trump match and upstaged Kirsty Gilmour 15-9, 15-14. Although the Scottish girl threatened to take the contest into the third game, Sindhu sealed it in the second game which was a tie-breaker. The victory swelled Chennai's points tally to three from two matches.
Sindhu, however, could not carry that form in the mixed doubles as the Indian star pairing with Chris Adcock went down to the formidable combination of N Sikki Reddy and Kim Sa Rang 14-15, 11-15.
World No1 Viktor Axelsen began Bengaluru's fightback by winning a tough singles match against Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk, who stretched the World No1. to three games. The 'Great Dane', however, showed his class to upstage the Thai 11-15, 15-6, 9-15. to win the first match of the day for Bengaluru and also their first point.
The battle for the top spot will continue in Hyderabad in Thursday when Bangalore taking on the Hunters.
Chennai Smashers 3-2 Bengaluru Blasters
Yang Lee/ B Sumeeth Reddy (BB) lost to Mathias Boe/ Kim-Sa Rang (T) 8-15, 15-14, 15-13; PV Sindhu (T) bt G Gilmour (BB) 15-9, 15-14; Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk lost to Viktor Axelsen (BB) 11-15, 15-6, 9-15; Brice Leverdez lost to Subhankar Dey (BB) 12-15, 12-15; Chris Adcock/ PV Sindhu lost to N Sikki Reddy and Kim Sa Rang (BB) 14-15, 12-15
Standings as of January 8
|Ahmedabad Smash Masters||4||12|
|North Eastern Warriors||4||11|