What’s the story?
HS Prannoy of the Ahmedabad Smash Masters continues his dazzling run at the Premier Badminton League (PBL) 2018 as he posted his 10th win on the trot on Tuesday. This time his victim was none other than the World No. 3 Kidambi Srikanth of the Awadhe Warriors, whom Prannoy convincingly beat 15-8, 15-11.
This is Prannoy’s second consecutive win over his Pullela Gopichand Academymate after having beaten him in the final of the Senior National Championships in November.
Despite Prannoy’s big win, the World No. 10 could not save his team from going down to the Awadhe Warriors 3-4 in an absolute cracker of a contest.
In case you didn’t know
Prannoy has been unstoppable since the start of the PBL Season 2. He remained unbeaten in seven matches in the last season and added three more wins in the current season, justifying the whopping Rs. 62 lakhs that the Smash Masters shelled out for him at the auction.
Last season, he claimed wins over the likes of the former World No. 1 Son Wan Ho. In PBL 2018, he has prevailed over World No. 11 Wang Tzu Wei and Singapore Open Superseries winner B Sai Praneeth, besides Srikanth.
The heart of the matter
Srikanth never looked the player, who won four Superseries titles in 2017. He continued being error-prone, which gave more and more confidence to Prannoy.
Riding on his smashes and accurate strokes, the Kerala shuttler quickly built an 8-2 lead. Srikanth closed the gap to just three points but he never found an opportunity to overtake the Smash Masters player.
The World No. 3 opened up a 4-1 lead in the second game and looked to be in control of the early proceedings. But he once more let Prannoy back into the game, who levelled matters at 5-5. As Prannoy wrested away the momentum from him, Srikanth reduced the deficit to four points before the World No. 10 closed out the match.
The Ahmedabad Smash Masters will try to get back to winning ways when they take on the defending champions, Chennai Smashers at Chennai on January 6.
If Prannoy continues to perform like this, he can definitely play a big role in taking the Ahmedabad Smash Masters to the final in their debut season.