What’s the story?
The irrepressible HS Prannoy has now extended his winning streak to a record nine matches at the ongoing Premier Badminton League (PBL) 2018, following his straight-game win over the Hyderabad Hunters’ B Sai Praneeth on Friday. The reigning national champion, who is representing the Ahmedabad Smash Masters, staved off an early challenge from the Singapore Open winner to register a 15-8, 15-10 win.
Right behind Prannoy is the Chennai Smashers’ PV Sindhu, who is now on an eight-match winning streak.
In case you didn’t know
Prannoy was unbeaten in seven matches in the second season of the PBL when he donned the jersey of the Mumbai Rockets and had wins over the likes of the former World No. 1 Son Wan Ho. Those sizzling performances enabled him to become the costliest player of the current edition when the Ahmedabad Smash Masters snapped him up for a whopping Rs. 62 lakhs.
The heart of the matter
The World No. 10 stretched his Season 2 winning streak further when he won his first match of PBL 2018 against the 11th ranked Wang Tzu Wei of the North Eastern Warriors, 15-10, 15-14.
Against the 16th ranked Sai Praneeth on Friday, he rained down smashes at 348kmph to jump to a 5-2 lead. However, the lower-ranked player used his deception to blunt Prannoy’s aggression for an 8-6 advantage before the Kerala shuttler bagged the opener.
In the second game, Prannoy established an early lead of 8-5 heading into the mid-game interval. The two players then orchestrated some fine rallies with a 36-shot rally standing out, which was won by the national champion with a delicate drop.
Prannoy completed the Trump win soon after, gifting the Smash Masters two vital points, that wrapped up the tie in Ahmedabad’s favour.
The Ahmedabad Smash Masters play their next PBL 2018 match against the Awadhe Warriors in Lucknow on January 2, 2018.
With two wins on the trot, the Smash Masters already look early favourites for the title in their debut season. If Prannoy continues to perform like this, they can very well emerge as the champions.