The league stage of the Premier Badminton League (PBL) came to a close on Wednesday with Delhi Acers and Chennai Smashers registering dominating victories against Mumbai Rockets and Bengaluru Topguns respectively. With this win, both Chennai and Delhi have made it to the semifinals of the PBL and will face each other in the first semifinal on Thursday while Mumbai Rockets take on Awadhe Warriors in the second semifinal. It was also the end of the road for Bengaluru Topguns who needed a win in Wednesday’s match in order to progress to the last four.
Delhi Acers hammer Mumbai Rockets 5-0 to seal PBL semifinal spot:
Having already missed the semifinal berth, the Mumbai Rockets played for pride and looked to end their PBL campaign on a high. First up was the mixed doubles match between Akshay Dewalkar/Aparna Balan (Delhi) and Vladimir Ivanov/Kamilla Juhl (Mumbai). The Mumbai duo showed some promise in the first game but were eventually overpowered by Dewalkar and Balan, who picked up the first point for Delhi Acers with a 15-13 15-11 win.
PC Thulasi notched up the second victory for the Delhi Acers as she defeated Ruthvika Gadde in the women’s singles tie. In an evenly fought encounter, it was Thulasi who prevailed in the end with scores of 15-11 8-15 15-13. The Mumbai Rockets’ fate was sealed in the third game when Tommy Sugiarto came out all guns blazing against HS Prannoy, beating him 15-8 15-6.
Next came the men’s doubles round. In another interesting three-setter, Koon Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong (Delhi) got the better of Mathias Boe/Vladimir Ivanov (Mumbai). The final scores read 15-11 12-15 15-10. The last game of the match (Trump match) was played between Rajiv Ouseph (Delhi) and RMV Gurusaidutt (Mumbai). The latter proved no match against Ouseph as he sealed a perfect victory for the Delhi Acers with a 15-7 15-10 win.
Chennai Smashers too good for local favourites Bengaluru:
The last league game was played between Chennai Smashers and home side Bengaluru Topguns. The Topguns had to win all the games in order to make it to the semis but their hopes were put to rest by Indonesian shuttler Sony Kuncoro who defeated Sameer Verma 15-10 10-15 15-8 in the men’s singles to put Chennai ahead in the game. The duo of Hoon Thien How and Joachim Fisher Nielsen brought Bengaluru back in the game with a dominant 15-7 15-8 win over Chennai’s Chris Adcock and Pranaav Chopra.
Kidambi Srikanth took Bengaluru 2-1 ahead after beating Brice Leverdez 15-4 15-12 in the second men’s singles round. Just when one thought that the momentum was shifting towards the home side, PV Sindhu turned the game around with an impressive performance against Suo Di in the women’s singles. She won 15-12 15-7 and it was down to the deciding match which was to be played in the mixed doubles category. Chris Adcock and Pia Zebadiah of the Chennai Smashers overcame some stiff resistance from Ashwini Ponnappa and Joachim Nielsen as they won the game 15-14 15-12.