PBL: Dismal end to Hunters' campaign

Hyderabad Hunters’ challenge ended with a whimper as they lost their third straight tie at home. They were hammered by Mumbai Rockets 4-1.

Hyderabad Hunters’s Parupalli Kashyap who lost to H.S. Prannoy of Mumbai Rockets in the men’s singles match of the Premier Badminton League championship in Hyderabad.   -  Nagara Gopal

Hyderabad Hunters’ challenge ended with a whimper as they lost their third straight tie at home. They were hammered 4-1 by Mumbai Rockets in the Premier Badminton League at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium here on Monday.

Hunters were off to a winning start with K. Supanida downing a fighting Liu zi Die 13-15, 15-11, 15-14 in the first women’s singles match of the evening. Then, former Olympics doubles gold medallist Markis Kido and Carsten Mogensen defeated T. Chayut and Vladimir Ivanov 15-7, 15-14 to give the home team a 2-0 lead.

The most disappointing aspect of Hunters’ campaign has been the inability of their star singles player, Parupalli Kashyap, to find his wonted touch. He suffered his third successive defeat at home as he lost to H.S. Prannoy 11-15, 13-15 in the crucial trump match, much to the dismay of his camp and the sparse crowd that had gathered to support the home team. The defeat also meant a negative point which effectively pushed Hyderabad Hunters out of the reckoning.

After Kashyap’s defeat, the focus shifted to the world juniors finalist, A.S.S. Siril Verma, who took on R.M.V. Guru Sai Dutt in the absence of star player Lee Chong Wei (who returned home owing to prior commitments) in the men’s singles, which Mumbai Rockets selected as the trump match. Expectedly,Sai Dutt, 25, the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games gold medallist, made a short work of the much younger opponent with a wonderful blend of attack and defence. Though Siril did show hints of his talent early on, it was obvious that he was no match for the opponent as the game progressed.

Hyderabad Hunters finished their league engagements with 11 points from 11 matches.

The results (T indicates trump match): Mumbai Rockets bt Hyderabad Hunters 4-1 (Liu zi Die lost to K. Supanida 15-13, 14-15, 14-15; T. Chayut & Vladimir Ivanov lost to Carsten Mogensen & Markis Kido 7-14, 14-15; T- H.S. Prannoy bt P. Kashyap 15-11, 15-13; T- R.M.V. Guru Sai Dutt bt A.S.S. Siril Verma 15-12, 15-4; Kamilla Juhl & Vladimir Ivanov bt G. Jwala & Markis Kido 15-8, 15-8).