Chennai Smashers overcomes Mumbai Rockets to clinch PBL title

In a close battle, Chennai Smashers defeated Mumbai Rockets 4-3 in the final to clinch the Premier Badminton League title. After the two teams were locked at 3-3, Tanongsak Saensombonsuk defeated Ajay Jayaram 9-11, 11-7, 11-3 to give his team the championship.

Chennai Smashers' team with the Premier Badminton League trophy.   -  PTI

Tanongsak Saensombonsuk came into the final of the Premier Badminton League searching for his first victory. As it was destined, the World No. 11 Thai charted a comeback trail from a game down against Ajay Jayaram to bring the Premier Badminton League title to Chennai Smashers.

It was a topsy-turvy final, with Chennai taking a 3-0 lead after its ‘trump’ mixed doubles combination and P. V. Sindhu came good. Mumbai made it 3-3 by victorious efforts by its superior men’s doubles team, who played ‘trump’, and by H. S. Prannoy, who scored his seventh victory following a close battle with P. Kashyap.

So, all depended on an off-form Saensombonsuk who had lost both his previous matches this season but held a 3-0 head-to-head record against Jayaram. It was his confidence that made Chennai opt for him ahead of Tommy Sugiarto in what turned out to be the final match of the title-clash.

Though Jayaram took the first game, Saensombonsuk gave very little away in the remainder of the 37-minute thriller and won 9-11, 11-7, 11-3. In fact, once Jayaram made it 3-3 in the second game, Saensombonsuk broke away for a five-point lead and never trailed again. In the decider, the Thai raced away with the final six points to leave Jayaram and Rockets shattered. Smashers was left celebrating its 4-3 victory.

The maiden title was worth Rs. three crore for Smashers. Mumbai, runner-up for the second successive year, received Rs. 1.5 crore.

Sindhu triumphs

The title-triumph was a worthy reward for Sindhu who tamed World No. 3 Sung Ji Hyun 11-8, 11-8 for the second time for a 6-1 individual record in the competition. In fact, Sindhu’s only loss came against World and Olympic champion Carolina Marin. For Gabrielle Adcock, the doubles specialist from England, it was a second successive PBL title, since she was part of last year’s winner Delhi Acers.

Gabrielle and her husband Chris won five out of six matches after winning their ‘trump’ match to give Smashers the lead in the final. Chris, however, could not repeat his winning magic in the men’s doubles but contributed hugely to the team’s success through consistency throughout the competition.

It was a pity that Prannoy’s unbeaten run in the PBL was pushed into the background following Saensombonsuk’s comeback victory in the decisive singles match.

The results:

Final: Chennai Smashers beat Mumbai Rockets (Chris Adcock and Gabrielle Adcock (T) bt Nipitphon Puangpuapech and Zeiba Nadiezda 11-9, 11-6; P. V. Sindhu bt Sung Ji Hyun 11-8, 11-8; Chris Adcock and Mads Pieler Kolding lost to Yong Dae Lee and Nipitphon Puangpuapech (T) 10-21, 6-11; P. Kashyap lost to H. S. Prannoy 4-11, 11-8, 11-8; T. Saensomboonsuk bt Ajay Jayaram 9-11, 11-7, 11-3).