PBL: Bengaluru Raptors enters final after edging past Pune 7 Aces in thriller

Bengaluru Raptors came back from 1-3 down to overcome Pune 7 Aces 4-3 in Premier Badminton League (PBL) season five's second semifinal on Saturday.

Bengaluru Raptors shuttler Brice Leverdez won his fourth consecutive match of PBL-5 after beating Mithun Manjunath of Pune 7 Aces in three games on Saturday.   -  Nagara Gopal

The mixed doubles pair of Chan Peng Soon and Eom Hye Won clinched the deciding match against Chris Adcock and Gabrielle Adcock to help defending champion Bengaluru Raptors record a thrilling 4-3 win over Pune 7 Aces in the second semifinal of Premier Badminton League (PBL) season five at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium here on Saturday.

With the scores tied three-all, Chan and Eom raised the bar under pressure to get the better of former World Championships medalists, Chris and Gabby of Pune, much to the delight of the huge number of Raptors fans in the crowd.

Earlier, in the men’s doubles match which opened the tie, 35-year-old Hendra Setiawan, former Olympic and World champion, and current World No. 10 Chirag Shetty ensured a splendid start in what was the Trump match for Pune, outplaying Arun George and Rian Agung Saputro.

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS | PBL Semifinal-2, As it Happened: Bengaluru Raptors beats Pune 7 Aces 4-3

In the men’s singles match which followed, world No. 39 Brice Leverdez of Raptors put his team back in the hunt warding off a spirited challenge from 21-year-old Mithun Manjunath, a trainee at the Prakash Padukone Academy. One of the highlights of the match was Leverdez finishing off a 49-stroke rally in the third game, at 6-12.

Pune then recorded the biggest upset of the evening when world No. 73 Kazumasa Sakai shocked World Championships bronze medallist and Bengaluru captain Sai Praneeth in the second men’s singles outing of the tie.

Praneeth, the crowd favourite, was leading 11-8 in the first game before Sakai came back strongly with a terrific blend of big smashes and solid defence to pick seven points on the trot. After that, he committed quite a few unforced errors to lose the momentum and the match.

Then it was left to World No. 2 Tai Tzu Ying to win the Trump match for the Raptors against the young Rituparna Das and ensure the scores were tied three-all before the last mixed doubles match. But this was not before Rituparna continued her impressive show in this edition of PBL, showing no nerves at all.

In the final on Sunday, the Raptors will take on the North Eastern Warriors, which beat the Chennai Superstarz in the first semifinal on Friday.

THE RESULTS:

Bengaluru Raptors beat Pune 7 Aces 4-3 (Arun George & Rian Agung Saputro lost to Chirag Shetty & Hendra Setiawan (T) 12-15, 10-15; Brice Leverdez beat Mithun Manjunath 15-14, 9-15, 15-6; Sai Praneeth lost to Kazumasa Sakai 11-15, 13-15; Tai Tzu Ying beat Rituparna Das 15-12, 15-12; Chan Peng Soon & Eom Hye Won beat Chris Adcock & Gabrielle Adcock 15-13, 15-10).

Support Sportstar


Dear Reader,

Support our journalism — where text and pictures intermingle so seamlessly — and help us scale up your experience as the world changes around us. Your contribution is vital to our brand of uninfluenced, boots-on-the-ground reportage that’s worth your while. Clickbait sensationalism is not for us, but editorial independence is — we owe it to you.

Special Editions

  Dugout videos