Bengaluru Raptors became the first team in the Premier Badminton League (PBL) to win back-to-back titles when it scored a 4-2 win over the first-time finalist, North Eastern Warriors, in the fifth edition's final at Gachibowli Indoor Stadium here on Sunday.
Once again, with scores tied two-all, it was a doubles match which decided the fate of the winner. And this time the mixed doubles pair of Chan Peng Soon and Eom Hye Won, playing the Trump match for Raptors, lived up to the expectations of the huge number of Bengaluru fans in attendance to get the better of Krishna Prasad Garaga and Kim Ha Na and win the trophy for their team.
Earlier, in the first men's singles match, Sai Praneeth, World Championships bronze medallist and captain of Raptors, came back strongly after losing the first game to outplay world No.18, Lee Cheuk Yiu.
It was a performance which should have pleased even World No. 2 and Praneeth’s teammate Tai Tzu Ying. Though he was erratic in the first game, the crowd favourite stepped into a different zone in the next two games, especially after winning a 39-stroke rally point at the start of the second game.
Then in the men’s doubles, Warriors pair of Bodin Isara and Lee Yong Dae, playing their Trump match, had to put their best foot forward to ward off a spirited challenge from Arun George and Rian Agung Saputro to keep their team in the hunt.
In the decider with scores 13-all, Saputro, who was just brilliant right through, faltered with a service error and then messed up a simple net point to hand over the match and a 2-1 overall lead to his opponents on the night.
For Raptors, world No. 2 Tai Tzu Ying remained unbeaten in this edition with another dominant display to outsmart world No. 10 Michelle Li. This made the tie's score two-all.
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