Bengaluru Blasters thrash Delhi Dashers 5-2 in PBL
By Amit Kumar Das
New Delhi, Dec 28 (PTI) Superlative performances by world champion Viktor Axelsen of Denmark and Malaysia's Chen Wei Feng helped Bengaluru Blasters trounce Delhi Dashers 5-2 in their opening match of the third Premier Badminton League (PBL) here today.
World No. 1 Axelsen, who recently defended his title at the Dubai Super Series Final, outclassed China's World No. 22 Tian Houwei 15-11 15-11 in Bengaluru's Trump match to seal the tie at the Siri Fort Sports Complex here.
Earlier, playing their first match of the season, Bengaluru Blasters drew first blood with Korean Kim Sa Rang and India's N Sikki Reddy combining well to secure a 15-10 12 -15 15-11 win over Delhi pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and Ivanov Vladimir in the mixed doubles opening match.
World No 45. Malaysian Chong Wei Feng then dished out a gritty game as he came back from a game down to stun 15th ranked Wing Ki Wong Vincent of Hong Kong 10-15 15-13 15-8 in the first men's singles to put the Blasters 2-0 ahead.
Delhi, who had lost their opening match 1-4 to Mumbai Rockets in Guwahati, then put their faith on Sung Ji Hyun, a bronze medallist at the 2015 World Championship, and the World No. 6 Korean overcame 2014 Commonwealth Games silver medallist and World No. 16 Kristy Gilmour 15-10, 8-15, 15-5 in their Trump match to bring her team back into the contest.
However, Axelsen, who won two super series titles in India and China and finished runners-up at China Open, poured cold water on Delhi's hopes with a superb performance in the second men's singles, rendering the fifth and last match -- men's doubles -- of the evening inconsequential.
The Odense-born Axelsen showed great athleticism and control and better anticipation as he led 8-6 at the first interval before comfortably pocketing the opening game.
The Dane zoomed to a 6-1 lead in the second and grabbed an 8-4 advantage at the breather with a towering down the line smash. He continued to dominate the proceedings after the break and eventually sealed the issue with another smash.
"Tian is a very good player and it was really close though it was in straight games. It was our trump match and I was expected to play at a higher level and I am happy to do that," Axelsen said after the match.
The Russian pair of Vladimir Ivanov and Ivan Sozonov had hoped to salvage some pride for the Dashers but Mathias Boe and Kim Sa Rang notched up a 15-9 15-12 win in the final match to complete a 5-2 drubbing by Benguluru.
Earlier, left-handed Chong Wei trailed 4-8 at the first break but he reeled off four points at 6-12 to make it 10-12 but he could not stop Vincent from walking away with the opening game.
In the second game, the Malaysian fell behind 6-8 again but he slowly made his way back and drew parity at 12-12 before turning the tables at 13-12 when Vincent hit out. He eventually roared back into the contest when the Hong Kong shuttler again went long.
Chong Wei then dominated the decider, surging to a 6-1 lead. Vincent grabbed three successive points before the Malaysian went into the interval with a 8-4 advantage. Chong Wei then came out with all cylinders blazing and sealed the match when his rival lost a video referral after going wide again