BENGALURU RAP­TORS WIN PBL

Millennium Post - - Front Page -

BENGALURU: Bengaluru Rap­tors edged the Mum­bai Rock­ets 4-3 to win their maiden Pre­mier Bad­minton League ti­tle on Sun­day.

World No. 18 An­ders An­ton­sen lost nar­rowly to the Bengaluru skip­per Srikanth when the two faced off in that bat­tle at the be­gin­ning of this week.

Any hope of a turn­around was dashed by a su­perb Srikanth who grabbed a 15-7, 15-10 vic­tory.

The Bengaluru tal­is­man rode on his smashes to open up a 5-1 lead and ex­tended it to 10-4 in a com­pletely onesided dis­play.

An­ton­sen used his tight spin­ning net game to trou­ble Srikanth in the first half of the se­cond game and made it 5-5. But that was all he could do against a de­ter­mined Srikanth who went up to 12-9 and closed out the match for his eighth win on the trot.

Hen­dra Se­ti­awan and Mo­ham­mad Ah­san showed that age is just a num­ber. With the en­tire sta­dium cheer­ing vo­cif­er­ously for the Rap­tors pair, the for­mer world cham­pi­ons never put their foot wrong and fin­ished off a 15-13, 15-10 win.

The World No. 9 pair's re­flexes were too much for Mum­bai's Lee Yong Dae and Kim GI Jung and it was only a mat­ter of time be­fore the men in yel­low grabbed the much­cov­eted win.

World No. 59 Vu Thi Trang had the re­spon­si­bil­ity of play­ing the Trump match for Bengaluru against Mum­bai's 202nd ranked Shreyan­shi Pardeshi and she thor­oughly lived up to the ex­pec­ta­tions, notch­ing up a 15-8, 15-9 win.

Over­com­ing a slow start, she took five con­sec­u­tive points to go up to 8-6 and ef­fort­lessly closed out the opener. Pardeshi gave a much bet­ter ac­count of her­self in the se­cond game, re­main­ing toe-to-toe with her ri­val un­til 8-8.

The Viet­namese banked on her tremen­dous de­fen­sive skills to come out on top of a 22-shot rally and that was all she needed to slam shut what­ever lit­tle chances the young In­dian had. She pock­eted six of the next seven points to com­plete the tri­umph.

Ear­lier, Mum­bai Trump Pia Ze­ba­diah and Kim Gi Jung made it a fab­u­lous start for Mum­bai.

The two en­sured that their at­tack was al­ways on point and made life dif­fi­cult for the Rap­tors' Mar­cus El­lis and Lau­ren Smith. Hav­ing lost the first game, the CWG sil­ver medal­lists kept it very com­pet­i­tive in the se­cond game as the scores re­mained even at 9-9.

The Mum­bai duo saved a game point to in­flict a 15-8, 15-14 de­feat on the Rap­tors pair — their eighth loss in as many matches.

World No. 12 Sameer Verma bounced back from a poor start to avenge his league stage de­feat to Bengaluru's Sai Pra­neeth.

Sai kept at­tack­ing the fore­hand wing of Sameeer to draw out er­rors from his com­pa­triot. It rat­tled Sameer and it was com­pletely ev­i­dent in his body lan­guage. Sai raced ahead to 8-1 and staved off a late surge from Verma to take the first game.

Sameer led 7-5 in the next game be­fore Sai lev­elled it at 7-7 and the two re­mained on par till 13-13 un­til the gritty Mum­bai ace held his nerves to clinch the rivet­ing se­cond game.

That helped Sameer to free up in the de­cider and he played his nat­u­ral game, go­ing up to 8-3 be­fore get­ting the 7-15, 15-12, 15-3 win.

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