Delhi clinch PBL title with 4-3 win over Mumbai

Delhi Acers’ calculated gamble paid off as their British-import Rajiv Ouseph pulled off his ‘trump’ match against a desperate R. M. V. Gurusaidutt of Mumbai Rockets in the tie-decider of the Premier Badminton League final here on Sunday. Acers clinched the PBL title with a 4-3 win.

The 2-1 victory of Tan Boon Heong (left) and Koo Keat Kien gave Delhi Acers a handy advantage in a close final against Mumbai Rockets.   -  AP

Delhi Acers’ calculated gamble paid off as their British-import Rajiv Ouseph pulled off his ‘trump’ match against a desperate R. M. V. Gurusaidutt of Mumbai Rockets in the tie-decider of the Premier Badminton League final here on Sunday. The 4-3 triumph for Delhi was worth Rs. 3,00,00,000. Mumbai settled for Rs. 2,00,00,000 out of the total prize fund of approximately Rs. 6,50,00,000.

Unlike what the score suggests, Delhi’s title-triumph could be predicted once the hosts won the men’s doubles match to take a 2-1 lead. Thereafter, Mumbai and Delhi won their ‘trump’ matches on expected lines. Ouseph, who had beaten Gurusaidutt 15-10, 15-7 last week when the teams met in the league, once again dominated the Indian to win 15-11, 15-6 in just 31 minutes to bring the curtains down on the fortnight-long league.





The key match of the final was the men’s doubles since the other four results eventually came on predictable lines. Mumbai’s Vladimir Ivanov and Mathias Boe were looking to avenge the loss suffered in the league in Bangalore. But Koo Keat Kien and Tan Boon Heong looked in control for the better part of the opening game before Ivanov and Boe bounced back from 12-14 to win the last three points.

In the second game, too, the Malaysian pair enjoyed an early four-point lead. Delhi eventually managed to force the decider. Here, too, the Malaysians opened a huge 10-3 lead before the Mumbai pair almost pulled off the Houdini act before falling on the match-deciding point.

The earlier two matches produced expected results, with Mumbai taking the mixed doubles and Delhi hitting back to win through an undefeated Tommy Sugiarto in the first men’s singles. Like in Bangalore, where the two teams met in the league stage, Mumbai took the lead with Ivanov and Kamilla Juhl winning with ease. This time, the Mumbai pair outclassed Akshay Dewalkar and Gabrielle Adcock in quick time.

It was now left to an unbeaten Sugiarto to win for the sixth time in the competition. The Indonesian did not let Delhi down as he once again defeated H. S. Prannoy, this time after dropping the first game.

Prannoy gave his best in the first game but clearly out of steam and ideas in the next two. Sugiarto’s economy of effort stood in stark contrast to Prannoy’s laborious ways. In the end, Sugiarto’s stamina made difference as a tiring Prannoy committed far too many unforced errors to bow out.

Delhi Acers beat Mumbai Rockets 4-3 (Mixed doubles: Akshay Dewalkar and Gabrielle Adcock lost to Vladimir Ivanov and Kamilla Juhl 6-15, 12-15; Men’s singles 1:Tommy Sugiarto bt H. S. Prannoy lost to Tommy Sugiarto 13-15,15-9, 15-9; Men’s doubles: Koo Kean Kien and Tan Boon Heong bt Vladimir Ivanov and Mathias Boe 14-15, 15-10, 15-14; Women’s singles: P. C. Thulasi lost to Han Li (Trump) 15-12, 8-15, 8-15; Men’s singles 2: Rajiv Ouseph (Trump) bt R. M. V. Gurusaidutt 15-11, 15-6).