PBL 2018: HS Prannoy wins eighth match on the trot, creates record

HS Prannoy
HS Prannoy was selected the 'Indian Player of the Day' on Tuesday

What’s the story?

World No. 10 HS Prannoy became the first player to win eight consecutive matches in the history of the Premier Badminton League (PBL) on Tuesday. The reigning national champion, who is a part of the Ahmedabad Smash Masters, achieved this feat when he beat the 11th ranked Wang Tzu Wei of the North Eastern Warriors, 15-10, 15-14.

With this latest win, he overtook Chennai Smashers’ PV Sindhu, who is on a seven-match winning streak after the Smashers’ 3-4 loss to the Awadhe Warriors on Saturday.

In case you didn’t know

HS Prannoy put up some phenomenal performances in the last edition of the PBL, where he remained unbeaten in seven matches. With wins over players such as the former World No. 1 Son Wan Ho, the Kerala shuttler set the tone for the season, which was to become his career-best year on the Tour.

While last year he was a part of the eventual runners-up Mumbai Rockets, this time he is representing a debutant team, who snapped him up for a whopping Rs. 62 lakhs, making him the costliest player of PBL 2018.

The heart of the matter

After a dazzling season on the BWF circuit that saw him reaching a couple of Superseries semi-finals and climbing to a career-high No. 10, the Pullela Gopichand protégé is all set to carry on the momentum into the next season.

And he made his intentions very clear when he took on the Warriors’ Wang Tzu Wei. With his smashes stealing the show, it did not take Prannoy much time to grab the opener, 15-10. But the drama was left for the second game, where the 25-year-old showed his exceptional resilience.

Prannoy raced to establish a lead of 7-4 and just when it looked like it would be a smooth sailing for the Indian, Wang stormed back to level matters at 8-8. A fired-up Wang even held four game points as he marched ahead to 14-10 in a spectacular turnaround.

In a thrilling finish to the game and the match, Prannoy saved all of those game points to bag five points on the trot and clinch the win.

What’s next?

The Ahmedabad Smash Masters will play their next match against the Hyderabad Hunters at the Siri Fort Sports Complex in New Delhi on December 29.

Author’s take

Prannoy’s sizzling form bodes well both for the shuttler and his team. If he can replicate Season 2’s performances, the Smash Masters can surely dream of winning the PBL title on debut.

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Edited by Sudeshna Banerjee
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