PBL 2017: Chennai Smashers pips Mumbai Rockets in thrilling tie

It was sheer grit and determination that saw Chennai turn the tide by winning two singles matches. If it was an intense drama when Brice Leverdez downed Sameer Verma in a thriller 15-14, 10-15, 15-14, Sindhu was superb the way she goaded herself to a 12-15, 15-7, 15-9 victory over Zhang.

P.V. Sindhu won a key point for Chennai Smashers against Mumbai Rockets in the Premier Badminton League in Delhi on Wednesday.   -  Special Arrangement

It was champion class as P. V. Sindhu overcame moments of uncertainty and a determined Beiwen Zhang to clinch a crucial point for Chennai Smashers in the Vodafone Premier Badminton League (PBL) at the Siri Fort Sports Complex here on Wednesday evening.

Having lost the first match in Guwahati, rather closely at 3-4 to Awadhe Warriors, it was important for Chennai to pick up points and that was what precisely the team did after stumbling to an indifferent start with the doubles.

Chennai Smashers vs Mumbai Rockets: As it happened

It was sheer grit and determination that saw Chennai turn the tide by winning two singles matches. If it was an intense drama when Brice Leverdez downed Sameer Verma in a thriller 15-14, 10-15, 15-14, Sindhu was superb the way she goaded herself to a 12-15, 15-7, 15-9 victory over Zhang.

Mumbai bounced back into the match in style, with Son Wan Ho winning two points for his team as the trump, in the fourth encounter against Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk.

However, in the climax, in the mixed doubles match which went to the wire, the Adcocks — Chris and Gabrielle, thumped Gabriela Stoeva and M.R. Arjun as the trump, 15-9 in the decider, to gain a 4-3 victory for Chennai Smashers. It was a setback for Mumbai after its opening victory, but the team did put up a very good performance.

Full credit should go to Sindhu for sustaining the team’s hopes. It was her last match of a very successful season when she had made it to the final of the World Championship and the year-end Super Series Final in Dubai.

The results
Chennai Smashers bt Mumbai Rockets 4-3 (Lee Yang & Sumeeth Reddy lost to Lee YOg Bae & Tan Boom Heong 9-15, 6-15; Brice Leverdez bt Sameer Verma 15-14, 10-15, 15-14; PV Sindhu bt Beiwen Zhang 12-15, 15-7, 15-9; Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk lost to (T) Son Wan Ho 11-15, 5-15; (T) Chris Adcock & Gabrielle Adcock bt Gabriela Stoeva & MR Arjun 15-9, 13-15, 15-9).

 

With the crowd coming alive, chanting her name when she looked a bit jaded in patches, Sindhu really stepped it up with an all-round entertaining
fare. Her next match will be on January 3 in Lucknow.

Down 1-3 and 4-7 in the decider, Sindhu was calm and played her best, even as Zhang wilted under the pressure, unable to control the flow of
points, and eventually putting one wide on matchpoint.

It was further consolidation for Chennai Smashers after Mumbai Rockets looked to have got off nicely and ready to stabilise with the second
match through Sameer Verma.

However,  Sameer Verma combined a lot of subtle play to his all-court game, missed the key points in a thriller of a second match, after Mumbai Rockets had taken off to a sensational start winning the doubles within 20 minutes.

Sameer missed three game points in the first game from 14-12, and in the climax when he had done all the hard work of saving two matchpoints from 12-14, he gave the opening for Brice on top of the net, which the latter gleefully pounced on with a smash and celebrated heartily.

It was as good as it could get, and Brice had kept his cool to reap the rewards, while Sameer’s courage drove him towards a bit of haste that proved costly. It was so, when Sameer leading 4-0 smashed a put-away right on to the net, from point blank range. A slight dip was good enough for Brice, to claw his way back into the match and put Chennai Smashers a very crucial point.