The 5th edition of the Premier Badminton League (PBL 2020) commenced on 10th January 2020. Chennai hosted the opening leg of this edition of the PBL, which saw youngsters such as Gayatri Gopichand, Ashmita Chaliha, Dhruv Kapila and many others keen to make an impact and rub shoulders with top foreign and national stars.
Home team Chennai Superstarz began their campaign with a 5-2 win over the PV Sindhu-led Hyderabad Hunters and followed it up with a 4-3 win over the Mumbai Rockets. Facing off against the Bengaluru Raptors in their last match at home, the Superstarz managed to pull off a 4-3 win to end their home leg on an unbeaten run.
In other games as part of the Chennai leg, the North Eastern Warriors claimed a 4-3 win over the defending champions, Bengaluru Raptors, while the former were inflicted their first loss of the season by the Awadhe Warriors, who won 4-3.
With several top stars in action during the Chennai leg, we take a look at the top three matches which produced the most exciting action from the opening leg of the season.
#1 Shubhankar Dey (Awadhe Warriors) vs Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk (North Eastern Warriors)
Subhankar Dey and Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk squared off in the deciding tie of the match, with both teams tied with two wins each from the encounter. In the first game, Shubhankar took a significant 7-2 and all efforts from Tanongsak to bridge the gap went in vain.
At 14-8, Shubankar had his first match point until Tanongsak pulled one back. However, Subhankar held on and clinched the opening game 15-9. However, the second set was a closely contested encounter as each player dealt a blow for a blow, with the scores level on 9-9.
At 13-13, both shuttlers were in with a chance of claiming a win. However, Subhankar brought all his experience to the fore as he essayed a couple of hard smashes that forced the Thai player to return straight to the net.
Courtesy of two points in a row, Subhankar claimed the second set 15-13 and sealed a thrilling 15-9, 15-13 win for his side.
#2 Shreyanshi Pardeshi (Mumbai Rockets) vs Gayatri Gopichand (Chennai Superstarz)
In the third match of the Chennai leg, the hosts Chennai Superstarz and Mumbai Rockets squared off, with big names such as Tommy Sugiarto and Parupalli Kashyap clashing paths.
However, the Superstarz were dominant throughout the clash as they took an unassailable 3-0 lead early in the match before KG Jung / KS Rang claimed a `15-9, 15-12 over BS Reddy / D Kapila brought about the hosts' first win from the match.
The last encounter of the match featured two youngsters in Gayathri Gopichand and Shreyanshi Pardeshi playing for pride. Gayathri opened up a 1-0 lead with a 15-14 win from the opening set, but she was outplayed in the second set as Pardeshi brought out her best to record a dominating 15-5 win.
The third set was a lot more intense as the two youngsters went about their game with assurance, needing to win the set that would hand them the match as well. Both the youngsters ensured that they did not let their opponent off to hook as, in the end, Pardeshi closed out a thrilling 15-13 win.
Also Get: Full PBL Schedule & PBL Points Table
#3 Satwik Sairaj Rankireddy and Jessica Pugh (Chennai Superstarz) vs Sikki Reddy and Vladimir Ivanov (Hyderabad Hunters)
Satwiksairaj and Jessica Pugh had the onus of getting their side off to a good start to the season, given that they were set to play the first match of the season against the Hunters' duo of Vladimir Ivanov and Sikki Reddy.
The hosts' duo started off with a positive result, a comfortable 15-6 win from the first set, before their effort to stave off a stiff challenge from the Hunters went in vain as their opponents pocketed a 15-13 win to level the scores.
Going into an all-important decider set, the pressure was on the home team's duo to give their home fans something to cheer about. And, that is exactly what they did as they held on to their nerves and clinched a thrilling 15-13 win, in the process getting their side off to a 2-1 start to the season.Published 27 Jan 2020, 10:13 IST