PBL 2020: Bengaluru Raptors storm into the finals after defeating Pune 7 Aces
Things got down to be extremely exciting during the semi-finals of the Premier Badminton League 2020. With the North Eastern Warriors already having booked their spot in the finals, it came down to the Bengaluru Raptors and the Pune 7 Aces to fight it out for the other finalist spot. And by all means, it was an intense fight they did out on the courts of the G.M.C Balayogi SATS Indoor Stadium, where it took a deciding match to determine the winner of the tie. Defending champions, Bengaluru Raptors cruised into their second consecutive final at the PBL, as they edged past the Pune 7 Aces in 4-3.
The Tai Tzu Ying-powered force of the Raptors had gotten off to a poor start in the PBL Season 5 but they ensured they made up for it soon and played fearlessly. The Pune 7 Aces, on the other hand, had been consistently playing well. The first rubber of the day was a Trump match for the Pune 7 Aces where the experienced men's doubles duo of Hendra Setiawan and Chirag Shetty stepped on the court to protect their Trump against Arun George and Rian Agung Saputro. Setiawan and Shetty were superb, as usual, and notched a straight-games victory, 12-15, 10-15 to give the Aces a head start.
The second match saw Frenchman Brice Leverdez of the Raptors clashing with Mithun Manjunath from the Aces. The student of the Prakash Padukone Academy, Manjunath gave World No. 39, Leverdez a bit of a difficult time before the Frenchman took hold of the reins and won, 15-14, 9-15, 15-6.
Bengaluru Raptors team captain, B. Sai Praneeth however failed to be victorious on his part as he was outplayed by a brilliant Kazumasa Sakai. The bronze medalist at the World Championships, Sai Praneeth was handed a shock defeat by the lower-ranked Sakai, who won in straight-games, 11-15, 13-15.
Once again, it required a stellar performance from World No. 2 Taiwanese player, Tai Tzu Ying to level things up with a victory in the Trump Match for the Raptors. Taking on Rituparna Das, Ying was effortlessly brilliant. The costliest player in this edition of the PBL, Ying lived up to her worth as she tamed a stiff fight from Das and won the Trump for the Raptors, 15-12, 15-12.
With the scoreboard reading 3-3, it all came down to the mixed doubles match to decide the finalist. It was Chan Peng Soon and Eom Hye Won who took responsibility on their shoulders against husband-wife duo of Chris and Gabrielle Adcock of the Pune 7 Aces. A brave performance by Peng Soon and Hye Won was enough to grant victory over the Adcocks, as they won, 15-13, 15-10. With that, the Bengaluru Raptors edged past the Aces by a narrow margin and made it to their second final on the trot at the PBL, they will now meet the North Eastern Warriors for a blockbuster final.
Published 09 Feb 2020, 09:19 IST