PBL: Superstarz unbeaten at home, beats Bengaluru Raptors 4-3

Satwik returned from injury and Gayatri Gopichand put up a strong show while Lakshya and Sugiato's rich vein of form continued to help Chennai register three wins in three ties.

Satwiksairaj's signature celebration capped off a brilliant home leg for the Chennai Superstarz.   -  R. Ragu

Chennai Superstarz ended its home leg unbeaten as it edged past Bengaluru Raptors 4-3 in a Premier Badminton League (PBL) season five contest here at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium on Friday.

Chennai, which now has three wins in three this season, was victorious in the important tie-deciding men's doubles clash against a Bengaluru side which has lost both its outings this edition so far.

The highly-energetic Satwiksairaj Rankireddy returned from injury and paired up with his countryman Dhruv Kapila in place of a sick Sumeeth Reddy to defeat Malaysia's Chan Peng Soon and Indonesia's Rian Agung Saputro 13-15, 15-9, 15-9, thereby completing the win for his team.

As it happened PBL Season 5 highlights: Chennai Superstarz 4-3 Bengaluru Raptors

The fourth match of the tie was a battle between experience and youth. Bengaluru's Tai Tzu Ying took on 16-year-old Gayatri Gopichand in the women's singles encounter. With the home crowd firmly behind her, Gayatri shocked Tai as she took the first game 15-13. The Indian youngster, who had faced P.V. Sindhu on Monday, played out an error-free opener to get the better of her world No. 2 opponent.

However, in the second and third games, Tai recovered and showed her class to topple Gayatri. Both the games ended 15-6 as Bengaluru tied the night's score 3-3.

Bengaluru's men's singles players Sai Praneeth and Brice Leverdez continued their winless run in the tournament after losing out to Tommy Sugiarto and Lakshya Sen respectively, with the Leverdez-Lakshya clash being Chennai's trump. Sugiarto's clash with Sai Praneeth was particularly delightful as the Indonesian kept his calm to seal the opening the match in Chennai's favour.

Praneeth, ranked 11 in the world, shifted gears during the second game and pushed Sugiarto on the backfoot with his swift movement on the court. He came up with precise drops and slices to claim the game 15-10. In the decider, Sugiarto cleverly drew his opponent into making silly mistakes with a defensive strategy. Praneeth, making several unforced errors, threw away the game as Sugiarto claimed it 15-11.

After beating Hyderabad Hunters' Priyanshu Rajawat in the season's opening tie, Lakshya Sen won yet another trump match, beating Leverdez 15-5, 15-4. With this win, Chennai is now 6-0 in men's singles duels this year.   

Earlier in the night, the Raptors decided to begin the tie by playing its trump in the mixed doubles. The experienced Malaysian-Korean combine of Chan Peng Soon and Eom Hye Won maintained their 100 per cent record in PBL-5 by brushing aside Dhruv Kapila and Jessica Pugh of the Superstarz 15-7, 15-8.

PBL will move to Lucknow on Saturday, with the Pune 7 Aces opening its PBL-5 campaign against the Parupalli Kashyap's Mumbai Rockets.

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