PBL 2018: 5 best performers from the Ahmedabad leg
Premier Badminton League Season 4 has dished out many surprises but the Ahmedabad leg was more regular compared to the previous legs with most of the favourites winning their matches.
Bengaluru Raptors won both of their ties beating Delhi Dashers and North Eastern Warriors and set themselves up in a comfortable position in the league table ahead of their home leg. Mumbai Rockets smashed Chennai Smashers 5-0 to book their spot for the semi-finals.
On the other end of the table, Delhi Dashers lost both their matches, to Bengaluru and Pune 7 Aces. Ahmedabad Smash Masters lost both their matches to Hyderabad Hunters and Awadhe Warriors as well ending their season.
Let's look at the 5 best performances from the Ahmedabad leg.
#1 Kidambi Srikanth
When Bengaluru Raptors faced Delhi Dashers, they were expected to walk away with the tie but Delhi gave a tough competition to the Bengaluru franchise.
Kidambi Srikanth won the first game of his match against Delhi's Tommy Suigarto. The former World No.1 started out well leading 6-2 and converted that lead into a comfortable 15-6 win. The Indonesian was not going down without a fight as he pocketed the second game 15-12. The 25-year old displayed his variety on the courts along with jump smashes to win the third game 15-10 settling the match in his favour.
On Saturday, Srikanth maintained his unbeaten run in this season of PBL as he beat Thailand's Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk 15-11, 15-12 helping the Raptors edge North Eastern Warriors 4-3.
#2 Vladimir Ivanov
The Russian was paired with L H Kjaersfeldt and they managed a victory over the pair of Maneepong Jongjit and Evgeniya Kosetskaya.
The 31-year old Russian ace dominated the first game as Kjaersfeldt and he walked to a 15-9 win. The second game was much more of a competition as Jongjit and Kosetskaya managed a 15-14 win. The third game was again a walk in the park for the Pune pair as they won it 15-8 repaying the trust the Pune management put in them.
Earlier in the leg. Pune's 3-4 defeat to Chennai Smashers looked respectable because of Ivanov and Jayaram's efforts.
The Russian was paired with Chirag Shetty against the pair of Chris Adcock and B Sumeeth Reddy. It was Pune's trump match and Ivanov and Shetty edged the first game 15-14 while converting the second game into a one-sided affair winning it 15-9 thus gaining 2 important points for the Pune franchise.
#3 B Sai Praneeth
Sai showed good composure to take a 6-2 lead against a national champion suffering from breathing issues and nursing his injured right knee simultaneously. Prannoy fought back and levelled the score to 10-10 but lost out the first game 12-15 ultimately.
The training partners at the Pullela Gopichand Academy were level at 14-14 in the second game which was just edged by Prannoy in the end. Sai won the last game 15-13 to decide the match in his favour.
Raptors beat North Eastern Warriors 4-3 on Saturday and Praneeth beat World No.6 Tian Houwei 12-15, 15-6, 15-7. The 26-year old struggled in the first game but looked more like the player that won the Singapore Open last year in the following two games.
#4 Mathias Christiansen
The Danish ace was teamed up with Lee Yang and the pair won their first game 15-12 against the pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Nandagopal Kidambi due to the accuracy of Christiansen. The determined Indian pair won the second game 15-10 thanks to the powerful smashes from the teenager. Christiansen got the better of Rankiredddy and closed the last game 15-8 after racing to an early lead of 8-3 thus winning the match.
The 24-year old had to face the teenage sensation once more in the mixed doubles match as Ashwini Ponnappa teamed with the Danish while N Sikki Reddy paired up with Satwiksairaj. This match looked like a xerox of the men's doubles match as Christiansen and Ponnappa won the match 15-13, 10-15, 15-12.
#5 Bodin Isara
In Hyderabad Hunters' tie against Ahmedabad Smash Masters, the first match was the mixed doubles battle between the Indian pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and N Sikki Reddy representing the Smash Masters with Bodin Isara and Eom Hye Won teaming up to represent the Hunters.
The first game was a tight affair edged 15-14 by the Hyderabad pair while the Thai ace along with Won walked over the Indian pair with a 15-9 win in the second game.
Isara teamed up with Kim Sa Rang for the men's doubles match while Satwiksairaj teamed up with Lee Reginald. The Ahmedabad pair won the second game 15-11 after losing the first game 15-10. The third game was tied at 14-14 and the match tied at 3-3 and Isara took this opportunity to help his side win the match and the tie by winning a point and the match 15-14 and the tie 4-3.