Doubles pair has last laugh as Bengaluru Raptors bag maiden Premier Badminton League crown

Though the men’s pair of Hendra Setiawan and Mohammad Ahsan proved to be the heroes in the final, Srikanth and Vu Thi Thrang also delivered wins in the singles matches to pave the way for the triumph

Published: 14th January 2019 04:35 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th January 2019 04:35 AM   |  A+A-

Bengaluru Raptors players after winning the PBL title at the Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Sunday

Express News Service

BENGALURU: The buzzing crowd at the Kanteerava Stadium got louder and louder as Bengaluru Raptors inched closer towards the Premier Badminton League title on Sunday. It reached a crescendo after an unforced error from the Mumbai Rockets’ men’s doubles pair in the fifth and deciding match gave the Raptors their maiden title.

Though the Bengaluru’s men’s doubles pair of Hendra Setiawan and Mohammad Ahsan proved to be the heroes in the final, clinching the decider, Kidambi Srikanth and Vu Thi Thrang also delivered wins in the singles matches to pave the way for the triumph. Srikanth set the tone for the rest of his teammates with a dominating show in the second match of the day. He brought his A game to the fore, against Anders Antonsen. Srikanth took a 6-2 lead and there on, it was impossible for the Dane to stop the Indian. He clinched the first game 15-7.

Antonsen showed glimpses of his class in the second game, where he looked desperate to make a comeback and take it to the final game. But Srikanth’s class prevailed. Playing some delicate shots and hitting his trademark smashes, he pushed his opponent to the backfoot. Despite a close fight, it was Srikanth who managed to clinch the second game 15-10 to help Bengaluru earn their first point in the final.

It was a match Srikanth could not afford to lose, as Bengaluru’s English pair of Lauren Smith and Marcus Elli had lost the first match to Mumbai’s Jung Kim and Pia Bernadeth, who were their Trump in the final. After losing the first game, the English pair put up a decent fight, but their opponents prove to be too strong, helping Mumbai earn a 2-0 lead, which was brought down to 2-1 by Srikanth.

Bengaluru’s Trump for the final, Thrang Vu, had a great chance to get her team the lead. One wondered if using her as Trump was a wise call with Srikanth being in great form. But Thrang did not disappoint and justified the team’s decision with a dominating show against India’s Shreyanshi Pardeshi, who could not cope with Thrang’s speed and class on the court. After clinching the first game 15-8, Thrang carried on that form and took the second game 15-9.

With it, Bengaluru were in the driver’s seat and could have sealed the deal had Sai Praneeth got past Sameer Verma. The match proved to be a close encounter between two Indian shuttlers, who knew each other’s game pretty well. After Praneeth took the first game 15-7, the home team had a great chance to win, but Verma took his game to another level in the last two sets, winning 15-12 and 15-3 to take the final into the last match of the competition.

And the men’s doubles pairing of Setiwan and Ahsan did not let their team down. Despite facing a tough opponent in the form of Jung and Yong Dae Lee, they delivered the goods, beating their opponents 15-13 and 15-10 to clinch the long awaited title.

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