Hyderabad Hunters edges Bengaluru Blasters to lift PBL title

Follow the live updates and commentary of the final of the Premier Badminton League match between Hyderabad Hunters and Bengaluru Blasters.

Carolina Marin and Viktor Axelsen (R) are the respective captains of Hyderabad Hunters and Bengaluru Blasters.   -  Nagara Gopal/B. Jothi Ramalingam

Hello and welcome to Sportstar's live commentary of the final of the Premier Badminton League match between Hyderabad Hunters and Bengaluru Blasters.

It's been a pulsating 23-day affair so far and what a tie we have in store to decide the 2017-18 Badminton kings!

Both teams have been led wonderfully under superstars Carolina Marin and Viktor Axelsen.

One would think Hyderabad would be the favourite considering it is playing in front of its home support and the fact that it has already beaten Bengaluru in the league stage. But Bengaluru as it showed yesterday in the second semifinal, could claw its way to its maiden title. Here's the match report from Anjana Senthil.

ROAD TO FINAL

Hyderabad Hunters finished top of the standings during the league stages with the help of two 6-(-1) scorelines in its last two ties. It needed only three matches during the semifinal to book its place in the final.

Bengaluru Blasters started the season with big victories but lost its fizz towards the end of the league stage. Then it pulled off a narrow win in a classic at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium.

 

 

Here are the matches lined up for tonight's semifinal:

Match 1Men's doublesMarkis Kido/Yoo Yeon Seong vs Mathias Boe/Kim Sa Rang
Match 2Men's SinglesLee Hyun Il vs Subhankar Dey (Trump match for Hyderabad)
Match 3Men's singlesSai Praneeth vs Viktor Axelsen (Trump match for Bengaluru)
Match 4Women's SinglesCarolina Marin vs Kirsty Gilmour
Match 5Mixed doublesSatwik Sairaj/Pia Zebadiah vs Kim Sa Rang/Sikki Reddy

 

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Satwik Sairaj/Pia Zebadiah bt Kim Sa Rang/Sikki Reddy 15-11, 15-12

Hyderabad Hunters 4 Bengaluru Blasters 3

 

15-12 Sikki's shot goes wide as Kim watches it fall out and that gives the title for Hyderabad Hunters. What a performance from the 17-year-old Satwik Sairaj under a big pressure match. What a great final this has been going right down to the wire. Axelsen can offer a smile as he shakes his head. Spare a thought as he remained unbeaten throughout the tournament.

14-12 Sairaj hits it against the net with his smash.

14-10 Good return from Sikki under pressure. Still championship point for Hyderabad.

13-10 Sairaj lands it on the line as his challenge his proven successful.

11-10 Superb service from Sairaj, out does Sikki.

9-10 Sikki pushes her shot wide.

8-9 Pia makes an angled shot and Pia stretches to get that in but fails to do so.

8-8 Pia finds space and places her shot at the back court and Kim can't get his return right, pushes it wide.

7-8 Sairaj with a powerful smash straight at Kim.

6-8 Pia makes an unforced error at the net.

6-6 No mistakes this time from Kim, gets his smash right. 327 kmph.

5-4 Kim fluffs his smash.

4-4 Pia makes a cross court smash at the net and Sikki can't get it over the net.

3-4 Kim makes a hash of his shot at the net, hits it into the net.

1-4 Kim with a winner to the back court. Sairaj was crouched down before the shot was even hit.

1-3 Terrific defence from Sairaj but Pia can't get her return right.

1-2 Sairaj pounces on Sikki's loose shot and puts it away.

0-1 Sairaj can't get his return over the net.

Second game

15-11 Sairaj makes a push with pace and there is a miscommunication between Kim/Sikki. That gives the game for Hyderabad.

14-11 Sairaj with another smash yields game point.

13-11 Sairaj hits it into the net.

13-9 Pia's angled shot is called in.

12-9 Sikki hits it wide rushing in.

11-9 Loose return from Kim with his backhand and Sairaj puts it away with ease.

10-8 It just takes one chance for Sairaj to put his smash away, no answer to that from Sikki.

9-8 Pia hits her shot wide.

9-7 Another service error from Pia.

9-6 Sairaj with yet another powerful smash from the back court. 342 kmph.

8-5 Sikki hits it into the net and we go into the break.

7-5 Sairaj's smash is too powerful for Kim to direct the return.

6-4 Service error from Pia.

6-3 Kim's push from the back court goes wide.

5-3 Sairaj with the smash before Pia makes a drop shot from the net.

4-2 Sikki with a smash from the net and Kim sets her up.

4-0 Sairaj with another smash, 343 kmph, Kim can only push it wide.

First game

Next up, mixed doubles.

Match 5Mixed doublesSatwik Sairaj/Pia Zebadiah vs Kim Sa Rang/Sikki Reddy

 

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Carolina Marin bt Kirsty Gilmour 15-8, 15-14

Hyderabad Hunters vs Bengaluru Blasters

 

15-14. Tie is all square: Marin wins her match with Gilmour and takes the final to a decider. With a series of smashes from all angles, Marin forces an error off Gilmour.

14-14 Wide again, from Marin! The Spaniard goes for a powerful overhead smash and drags it wide, to the right of Gilmour.

14-13 Marin's shot is wide.

14-12 Game point for Marin, who watches Gilmour's shot drop over the baseline.

13-12 A smash down the line from Gilmour, 342 KMPH!

13-11 A cross court drop that strands Gilmour!

12-11 Gilmour with the unforced errors now, catches the net once again. Marin ecstatic!

11-11 Three in a row now, for Marin! Gilmour catches the net, trying to return a smash.

10-11 Marin watches the shuttle drop wide, from a Gilmour cross court.

9-11 Gilmour's shot is wide, to the right of Marin, and the sequence is broken.

8-11 Uncharacteristic from Marin, with the succession of unforced errors. Her shot this time is long.

8-10 Gilmour's cross court drop is too good for Marin to pick up, only hits the net.

8-9 Five in a row! Marin with another unforced error.

8-8 Four in a row! Marin catches the net with her forehand.

8-7 Three back to back points for Gilmour.

8-6 Marin with another unforced error, this time hits it long.

8-5 Marin catches the net in picking up Gilmour's drop.

8-4 Like in the first game, Marin goes into the mid-game break with a four-point lead and seems set to wrap this up in straight games. In which case, the tie will be levelled 3-3, with the mixed doubles to decide who wins the third season of PBL.

7-4 A well-disguised drop shot from Marin, catches Gilmour off guard.

6-4 A full-blooded jump smash from Marin, down the line.

5-4 Gilmour with a shot at Marin's body, the Spaniard doesn't return.

5-3 Marin doesn't return Gilmour's powerful dipping smash.

5-2 This time Gilmour's shot is wide, to the left of Marin.

4-2 Back to back points for Gilmour, Marin's drop is wide.

Second game

15-8 Marin takes the first game comfortably.

8-4 Gimour hits it into the net again and that's the mid game interval.

7-4 Gilmour's backhand return finds the net.

5-4 Good return with pace from Marin off the service and Gilmour can't get her racquet to it.

4-4 Marin hits it into the net.

4-3 Gilmour's shot goes long.

3-3 Good smash down the line from Gilmour. 291 kmph.

2-2 Fierce return from Marin and Gilmour can't make the return.

0-2 Marin hits it against the net.

First game

A chance for Hyderabad Hunters now to level the scores as favourite Carolina Marin takes on Kirsty Gilmour. Marin is undefeated during the third season of PBL and has dropped only one game so far.  Gilmour put up a great fight last night against World no. 1 Tai Tzu Ying taking the match to the third game.

Match 4Women's SinglesCarolina Marin vs Kirsty Gilmour

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Viktor Axelsen bt Sai Praneeth 15-8, 15-10

Hyderabad Hunters 2 Bengaluru Blasters 3

 

10-15 A push from Axelsen at the net and it called good. That's the two points for Bengaluru Blasters and it goes into the lead on the night.

10-14 Axelsen's around the head smash goes wide.

8-14 Axelsen with a smash to Praneeth's backhand and its match point.

8-13 A cross court from Praneeth and its called in. Axelsen challenges it and hawkeye shows its out.

8-12 Poor judgement from Axelsen as he lets Praneeth's shot drop on the line.

7-12 Praneeth with a smash down the line. A quick snap there.

6-12 Praneeth with a good angled drop shot.

5-12 Praneeth's shot goes into the net.

4-11 Axelsen goes for the fancy shot between the legs and Praneeth puts it away with ease.

3-10 Praneeth hits it against the net.

2-8 Another smash goes wide from Praneeth. That's the interval.

2-7 Praneeth pushes his smash wide.

2-6 Axelsen hammers that smash with a lot of pace.

2-5 This time its out from Praneeth.

2-4 Praneeth's shot lands inside.

1-3 Praneeth with a forehand smash down the line. 359 kmph smash.

0-3 Axelsen with a big smash before pouncing on the net to put it away. 33 shot rally. 

0-1 Axelsen with a forehand winner after a 29 shot rally.

Second game

8-15 Praneeth pushes it long and that's the game for Axelsen.

6-14 Axelsen puts it wide.

6-13 Praneeth with his own smash down the line. 373 kmph.

5-13 Its as simple as that for Axelsen as he hits another smash down the line.

5-11 Praneeth's shot goes wide.

5-10 No mistake this time from Axelsen, puts away his smash.

5-9 Axelsen goes long this time.

4-9 Praneeth's shot goes long.

4-8 Axelsen's backhand push goes wide.

3-8 A shot into the body of Praneeth from Axelsen and the latter sits in front in this trump match.

3-7 Praneeth pushes his shot wide.

3-6 Unforced error from Axelsen this time, finds the net.

2-6 Quick hands from Axelsen and Praneeth's return finds the net.

2-5 Cross court smash from Axelsen. 330 kmph.

2-4 Axelsen with a forehand winner low to Praneeth.

2-3 Axelsen hits it long.

1-3 Praneeth with a well placed push to open his tally.

0-2 Praneeth's lob doesn't lift over the net.

0-1 Axelsen starts with a smash down the line.

First game

Another men's singles match and its another trump match, this time for Bengaluru. World no. 1 Viktor Axelsen will take on India's Sai Praneeth.

Match 3Men's singlesSai Praneeth vs Viktor Axelsen (Trump match for Bengaluru)

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Lee Hyun Il bt Subhankar Dey 15-7, 15-13

Hyderabad Hunters 2 Bengaluru Blasters 1

 

15-13 Subhankar's angled smash catches the net. That's the trump points for Hyderabad and the smiles are back in the crowd.

14-13 Lee with another smash and Subhankar can only put it wide. Match point for Lee.

13-12 Lee's forehand hits the net.

12-10 Lee with a big smash to open the court before putting it away.

11-10 Lee's return hits the net and trickles inside his own court.

10-9 Subhankar with a backhand cross court push from the net.

10-8 Lee goes for the smash but he hits it into the net.

10-7 Lee puts it into the net after another rally filled with good defensive play.

10-6 Lee with a forehand winner. 328 kmph smash to go with the angle.

8-6 Lee had his name written all over that point after the long rally but makes an unforced error after a 29 shot rally.

8-5 Lee showing his class again with a patient approach against Subhankar. Makes a forehand winner at the net.

7-5 Lee again making the youngster run around before Subhankar hits it into the net. 28 shot rally.

6-5 Service error from Lee.

6-4 Another stunning lob over the net from Lee.

5-4 Lee comes to net and makes a drop again.

3-4 Lee goes across with his smash.

2-4 Unforced error from Lee, hits it into the net.

2-3 Another forehand smash from Lee, Subhankar can't get it.

1-3 Lee with a smash down the line before rushing the net to put it away.

0-3 Big angled cross court smash from Subhankar.  319 kmph.

0-2 Lee hits it wide.

0-1 Subhankar puts it away from the net after a loose return from Lee.

Second game

15-7 Subhankar hits it long and that's the game for Lee.

14-7 Subhankar hits it against the net with his lob and that's game point.

13-7 Subhankar goes for the big smash down the line but its wide.

12-7 Subhankar hits it into the net.

11-7 Subhankar's shot goes long.

10-7 Subhankar hits a cross court smash and Lee challenges it. The shot was on the line.

9-6 Lee with a forehand winner.

8-6 Subhankar pushes it wide and that's the mid game break.

7-6 Lee pushes it wide.

7-5 Subhankar with a smash down the line and this time Lee can't get his racquet to it.

7-4 Lee with some superb pick ups here before Subhankar's smash goes narrowly wide.

5-4 Lee goes for a big angled cross court hit, goes wide.

5-3 Subhankar with a couple of unforced errors as he hits it into the net.

3-3 A 40 shot rally ends with Lee hitting it wide.

You may want to get your chips and beverages for this match. Might be a long, long affair from the early looks of it. 

3-2 Well left from Subhankar as Lee's shot goes long.

3-1 Lee makes a good pick up from Subhankar's smash before making a snap shot for that point.

1-1 This is some really patient play from both these players, no fancy stuff. A 50 shot rally ends with Lee hitting an unforced error at the net.

1-0 A good, long rally to start things off before Lee hits a forehand smash down the line. 35 shots in that rally.

The Hyderabad Hunters flags are out for the trump match . It's quite a boisterous crowd! #VodafonePBLFinal @sportstarweb pic.twitter.com/YteTR1ADke

— AnjanaSenthil(@anjana24) January 14, 2018
 

First game

A big match for Hyderabad this one. It will need Lee Hyun Il to win the trump match to stay in the fight for the title.

Match 2Men's SinglesLee Hyun Il vs Subhankar Dey (Trump match for Hyderabad)

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Mathias Boe/Kim Sa Rang bt Markis Kido/Yoo Yeon Seong 15-9, 15-10

Hyderabad Hunters 0 Bengaluru Blasters 1

 

10-15 Kim hits the winner this time and that's first points on the board for Bengaluru Blasters!

10-14 A superb rally sets up match point for Bengaluru with Boe putting it away.

10-13 Kim with a backhand winner from the back court finding open court.

10-12 Seong hits it into the net.

10-11 Kim's return goes wide from a push straight at him from Kido.

9-11 Kim puts it away at the net with a cross court push to the back court.

9-10 Boe rushes his shot at the net and ends up making an unforced error.

8-10 Kido with the service error this time.

7-9 Seong with a fierce smash from the back court and Boe puts it wide.

6-8 Good service from Seong as Kim can't get his return over the net.

5-8 Kim hits a backhand into the net from the back court.

4-8 Kido puts his forehand wide, another unforced error for the Hyderabad pair. Interval.

4-7 Betetr from Seong, makes a forehand winner.

3-7 Kido hits it into the net this time from the service.

3-6 Another service error from Seong.

3-5 Kim's return is wide.

2-5 Seong struggling here, makes an unforced error.

2-3 Poor return from Seong sets Boe for a smashing hit into the back of Kido.

1-1 Service is short this time from Seong.

 

Second game

9-15 Boe with another forehand winner, this time from the back court to take the opening game for Bengaluru.

8-13 Poor service from Seong, overhits it.

8-12 Wayward shot from Kim.

7-12 Boe pounces at the net to hit a forehand winner.

7-11 Kim with a smash down the middle and Seong hits it wide.

7-10 Boe's backhand return from a Kim smash goes wide.

6-9 Seong with a body smash.  409 kmph.

5-9 Late return from Boe which set Seon up for a powerful smash. Kim hits his return wide from the smash.

4-9 Kim finds the line with a backhand which Kido lets go of.

4-8 Boe with a forehand winner at the net. Mid game interval.

3-7 Seong with a backhand flick which narrowly goes wide.

3-5 Unsuccessful challenge from Hyderabad.

3-3 Seong hits it into the net.

2-3 Service error from Boe.

1-2 Kim hits a forehand winner into open court.

1-0 Kim with the smash for the first point.

Big support in for both Hyderabad and Bengaluru here. The players are out in the middle.

First game

Match 1Men's doublesMarkis Kido/Yoo Yeon Seong vs Mathias Boe/Kim Sa Rang