PBL 2020: Tai Tzu Ying helps Bengaluru Raptors clinch their first win as they defeat Hyderabad Hunters 

PV Sindhu and Tai Tzu Ying
PV Sindhu and Tai Tzu Ying

Perhaps everybody had been waiting for this day to come when the Hyderabad Hunters would finally clash against the defending champions, the Bengaluru Raptors, in the PBL Season 5.

The reason behind it was obvious as a match-up between these two sides would indicate that World Champion, PV Sindhu, would take on arch-rival and World No. 2, Tai Tzu Ying, as the two costliest players in this season would spar off against each other. Fulfilling such expectations, the Bengaluru Raptors met the Hyderabad Hunters at G.M.C Balayogi SATS Indoor Stadium and won against the host city, 3-0.

The Bengaluru Raptors had not won a single tie ever since this season of PBL began. However, the defending champions showed who they really are when they brought their sheer best to the court against the Hyderabad Hunters, defeating them 3-0.

In the first rubber, the Men's Doubles pair of Ben Lane and Vladimir Ivanov once again took the court against Bengaluru's Chan Peng Soon and Rian Agung Saputro. This was by no means an easy match as both opposing pairs played immensely well and chased each other closely on the board. The first rubber of the day unsurprisingly entered into a three-game affair with the Raptor's marginally edging out the Hunters, 13-15, 15-9, 12-15.

The second rubber was the Trump Match for the Hyderabad Hunters as they sent Syed Modi International 2019 finalist, Sourabh Verma, to better their causes against Frenchman Brice Leverdez from the Bengaluru side. The match got off to a heated started, with Verma charging well but Leverdez soon took control of the first game and pocketed it neatly. Verma dared a comeback in the second and succeeded too before losing the deciding game. Leverdez defeated Verma, 12-15, 15-10, 6-15 and won Bengaluru it's second match of the day.

The third rubber was the all-important one as it featured two of the best players in the PBL and the world. One, was our very own PV Sindhu and the other was Taiwanese sensation and World No. 2, Tai Tzu Ying. It was well-known that this match would be tough and it also unfolded in a similar fashion, with Tai Tzu putting up a solid fight against the reigning World Champion, PV Sindhu. Ying had raced off to a 3-0 lead in the opening game before Sindhu found her place in the match and levelled up. In a gruelling battle of nerves and precision, the two arch-rivals pushed each other to their extremes. Sindhu bagged the first game and was greeted with an ovation from the crowd but sadly enough, she could not maintain her lead as Tai Tzu attacked. Eventually, it was Tai Tzu who emerged as the stronger player as she defeated the lanky Hyderabadi in three close-quarter games, 15-11, 13-15, 9-15.

The fourth rubber was the Trump Match for the Bengaluru Raptors as they sent P. S Chan and E. H Won in the Mixed Doubles encounter against Hyderabad's Vladimir Ivanov and N. Sikki Reddy. A change of fortunes awaited the Hyderabad Hunters as the Indo-Russian pair really played a dominant game and defeated Chan and Won in straight games, 15-13, 15-11. With that the Hunters won their first match for the day.

In the final encounter of the day, Daren Liew took on B. Sai Praneeth in the Men's Singles clash. The Malaysian Liew was completely surprised by Praneeth as he took charge of the match from the get-go. Liew could hardly match the skills of the Indian on this occasion as Praneeth secured the victory for the Bengaluru Raptors, winning 11-15, 6-15. With that Hyderabad lost the one point they had secured on the board in the earlier match and lost the tie completely to the Raptors, 3-0.

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Edited by Alan John
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