PBL: Ahmedabad Smash Masters beats Hyderabad Hunters 4-3

H.S. Prannoy beat Sai Praneeth 15-10, 15-8 in the Trump Match, as Ahmedabad Smash Masters cruised to an unassailable 4-3 lead over Hyderabad Hunters in the Vodafone Premier Badminton League at the Siri Fort Sports Complex here on Friday evening.

H.S. Prannoy rarely put a foot wrong in outwitting compatriot Sai Praneeth.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

H.S. Prannoy beat Sai Praneeth 15-10, 15-8 in the Trump Match, as Ahmedabad Smash Masters cruised to an unassailable 4-3 lead over Hyderabad Hunters in the Vodafone Premier Badminton League at the Siri Fort Sports Complex here on Friday evening.

With so much riding on him, Prannoy delighted with his razor-sharp game, that proved too much for Praneeth in the end.

As the action unfolded

Prannoy outclasses Praneeth

Quite relieved after clinching it for Ahmedabad - the second victory for the team - after it had secured four points over North Eastern Warriors, Prannoy heaped praise on Praneeth and expressed happiness at the efficient win.

However, it did not look that easy initially as Prannoy and Praneeth took turns to take six back-to-back points each. That said, there was no doubt that Prannoy was close to his best as he moved well and judged the shuttle to a nicety.

Prannoy asserted himself by bouncing back from 6-8 in the first game, winning nine of the next 11 points, including six on the trot yet again.

Riding on the momentum, Prannoy enjoyed the edge during the exchanges in the second game. Once he won a critical rally with a superb drop shot to take a 10-7 lead, the writing was very much on the wall.

Ahmedabad takes early lead

With Hyderabad opting to rest Olympic champion Carolina Marin, and fielding  Rasika Raje in the women’s singles, Ahmedabad had marched ahead to take a 2-1 lead through the reigning world No.1 Tai Tzu-Ying, who had bagged two gold medals in the Universiade back home and had skipped the World Championship.

Earlier, it was a dramatic start to the contest with the mixed doubles as Kamilla Rytter Juhl and Lee Chun Hei Reginald recovered from an indifferent start and a series of blistering smashes, to win four points in the first game and outwit Pia Zebadiah Bernadet and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy.

In both the second and third games, the Ahmedabad team was able to pull ahead after a close spell. Especially in the decider, the Ahmedabad Smash Masters reeled off seven points on the trot from 6-5 to overwhelm the opponent.

The joy was short-lived, as Lee Hyun Il literally toyed with Sourabh Verma to strike parity for the Hyderabad team. While Sourabh was subdued, the left-handed Lee Hyun Il pulled him around the court; gathering his points swiftly with an uncanny judgement and precise play.

In the end, there was some consolation and plenty of entertainment for the fans who stayed back as Hyderabad won its trump doubles to take its score to three points.  Interestingly, both the teams have eight points after two matches each.