National Badminton Championship: PSBB to meet AAI in final

In the last match of the day, AAI edged out Maharashtra 3-2, with the mixed doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Mahima Agarwal putting it across Akshay Dewalkar and Gauri Ghate 16-21, 21-18, 21-18 in the fifth and deciding tie.

Pratul Joshi gave a headstart for AAI with a straight-game win over Harsheel Dani in the men’s singles.   -  Subir Roy

Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB) and Airport Authority of India (AAI), the top two seeds, booked their appointed places in the mixed team event of the 72nd inter-state & inter-zonal badminton championship at the Patliputra Sports Complex here, but not before suffering several anxious moments.

In the last match of the day, AAI edged out Maharashtra 3-2, with the mixed doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Mahima Agarwal putting it across Akshay Dewalkar and Gauri Ghate 16-21, 21-18, 21-18 in the fifth and deciding tie. Earlier, PSPB had the measure of Uttar Pradesh 3-0 in the other semfinal.

More than PSBB-UP tie, it was the one between AAI and Maharashtra contest that caught the eye.

Pratul Joshi gave a headstart for AAI with a straight-game win over Harsheel Dani in the men’s singles. Maharashtra equalised with Neha Pandit asserting her authority over Raje Rasika in the women's singles. With the men’s and women’s doubles matches going the way of AAI and Maharashtra respectively, it was left to the mixed doubles pairs to settle the issue.

It was a seat-edge thriller all the way. Actually, Maharashtra should have closed the tie in the second game, but Gauri Ghate made several unforced errors to lose the game. The third and final game saw some scintillating rallies from both sides. From 17-each, AAI pair raced away to the finish.

For PSPB, the victory might appear easy on paper, but on court, it was a fight to the finish in both the men and women singles. H.S. Prannoy had to sweat for every point before defeating Ansal Yadav, and Tanvi Lad struggled to beat Riya Mukherjee in the women's singles.

The results:

Mixed team event: (Semifinals): PSBB bt UP 3-0 (H.S. Prannoy bt Ansal Yadav 23-21, 16-21, 21-12; Tanvi Lad bt Riya Mukherjee 21-8, 10-21, 24-22; K. Tarun & V. Diju bt Ansal Yadav bt Shivam Sharma 21-19, 21-14); AAI bt Maharashtra 3-2 (Pratul Joshi bt Harsheel Dani 21-19, 21-19; Raje Rasika lost to Neha Pandit 18-21, 14-21; M.R. Arjun & Chirag Shetty bt Akshay Dewalkar & Eshan Naqvi 21-18, 17-21, 21-6; Karishma Wadkar & Mahima Aggarwal lost to Shruti Mundada & Vaishnavi Bhale 21-19, 9-21, 16-21; Chirag Shetty & Mahima bt Akshay & Gauri Ghate 16-21, 21-18, 21-18).

(Quarterfinals):

Men: PSPB bt Andhra Pradesh 3-1 (Sourabh Varma bt D. Jaswanth 21-12, 21-1; Arundhati Pantawane bt Nishita Varma Pakalapati 21-5, 21-8; Sai Praneeth & K. Tarun lost to G. Krishna Prasad & R. Satwik Sai Raj 21-14, 18-21, 22-20; Aparna Balan & Rituparna Das bt V. Harika & D. Sudha Kalyani 21-12, 21-10.

UP bt Assam 3-2 (Ansal Yadav bt Hirak Jyoti Neog 21-18, 21-18; Riya Mookerjee lost to Ashmita Chaliha 22-20, 19-21, 21-23; Ansal Yadav & Shivam Sharma bt Anjan Buragohain & Ranjan Buragohain 21-15, 21-19; Samriddhi Singh & Shruti Mishra lost to Ashmita Chaliha & Ningshi Block Hazarika 13-21, 12-21; Riya & Shivam bt Anjan Buragohain & Ningshi 21-17, 21-13.

Maharashtra bt Bihar 3-0 (Harsheel Desai bt Shubham Kumar 21-14, 21-10; Neha Pandit bt Alka Kumari Thakur 21-9, 21-12; Akshay Dewalkar & Varun Khanwalkar bt Shubham Kumar & Shubham Kumar 21-13, 21-15.

AAI bt Haryana 3-0 (Pratul Joshi bt Ketan Chahal 21-13, 21-11; Raje Rasika bt Ira Sharma 21-19, 21-19; M.R. Arjun & Chirag Shetty bt Ketan & Saurabh Sharma 21-23, 21-9, 21-14).

  Dugout videos