Mumbai Rockets beat Awadhe Warriors in PBL

Lucknow, Jan 7 (IANS) Mumbai Rockets defeated Awadhe Warriors 4-3 to sit at the second position on the points table in the second edition of the Premier Badminton League (PBL) at the Babu Banarasi Das Indoor Stadium here on Friday.

Ace shuttler Saina Nehwal of Awadhe Warriors, who got her rhythm back, won her high profile clash against Sung Ji Hyun of Mumbai Rockets to pull one back for her team after they went down 2-0.

With the clash extremely crucial for the teams as the winner would race to the top of the leaderboard, the Hyderabadi shuttler defeated her opponent 12-10, 4-11, 11-5.

The match started on an even note with both the players winning points on regular intervals. Both the players kept a strong hold and did not let each other open up a huge lead. But it was eventually Saina who got the better off Sung Ji to take the first game 12-10.

In the second game, Saina seemed a bit lost in the middle and Sung Ji did good to capitalize on her opponent’s mistake to win the game 11-4 to restore parity. With the match tied, it was the 26-year-old Indian shuttler, who regained her focus and was class apart in the final game.

She did not give her opponent any chance to settle in the game and won the decider in a rather dominating fashion to win her second match of the league as well as maintain her unbeaten run here.

It looked like after Saina’s victory, Warriors will make a comeback in the match but H.S. Prannoy of Rockets won his trump match 14-12, 9-11, 11-8 to make the score 4-1 in his team’s favour.

Earlier in men’s single tie, Ajay Jayaram of Mumbai Rockets defeated his compatriot Kidambi Srikanth of Awadhe Warriors 5-11, 15-14, 11-5.

Starting the match, Srikanth was quick to get off the block and raced to a lead of 5-2. It looked like the Guntur-born player will have it easy but Jayaram fought back to take three consecutive points to tie the score 5-5.

Srikanth then took one more point to go into the mid-game break 6-5. After the break, he started from where he had left and dominated the proceedings. His movement on the court was superb and the way he mixed his shots was immaculate and the Mumbai player ran out of answers.

Leading the game, Srikanth did not let his opponent get back and took five straight points to take the opening game.

In the second game, the Awadhe Warriors star started brilliantly again to seize the initial momentum and opened up a 5-1 lead only from Jayaram to make a wonderful comeback and take four consecutive points to tie the score 5-5.

However, Srikanth took the next point to go into the breather with the lead. With victory in sight, it should have been an easy walk for the Warriors player but Jayaram gave a tough fight to snatch a superb 15-14 win in the second game.

The third game saw Ajay in the driving seat for the first time as he paced to a 6-3 in the decider. Srikanth tried to launch a comeback but Jayaram was in no mood to relent as he won the game 11-5.

In men’s doubles match, Lee Yong Dae and Nipitphon Puangpuapech of Rockets took on the in-form pair of Markis Kido and V Shem Goh of Warriors.

The Rockets pair started the match in a rather confident manner taking the opening game 11-7. Kido and Shem Goh won the next game 11-3 to force the match into the decider. It was a close final game with Rockets finally winning 13-11 to halt the Warriors’ winning streak.

In the last match Bodin Issara and Savitree Amitrapai of Awadhe Warriors won their trump match in the mixed doubles category against Nadiedza Zeiba and Nipitphon 11-8, 11-4.