Nobody would have guessed that the Season 4 champions of the Premier Badminton League, the Bengaluru Raptors would be defeated in their opening tie against North Eastern Warriors. But that is exactly how unpredictable and down-to-the-thread PBL Season 5 is turning out be, just on the second day itself. With both teams showcasing impressive caliber, it was a classic evening of gripping badminton as the Warriors won by a margin of 4-3.
Starting their title defense on a good note, the Bengaluru Raptors sent forth the Mixed Doubles pair of P.S Chan and E.H Won while the Warriors sent the veteran duo of Lee Yong Dae and K.H. Na who were surprisingly handed a crushing defeat in 8-15, 11-15.
However, the Warriors were keen on seeking revenge and in the following Men's Singles clash, World No. 18 Indonesia Open semi-finalist, Lee Chiuk Yiu did the winning act for the North-Eastern side by defeating India's ace player B. Sai Praneeth, which was another shock of the evening. Yiu was relentless against Praneeth who could not tackle the attack from the Warriors player and went down 15-14, 15-9. With that, the North Eastern Warriors had leveled the ties on the board.
The Bengaluru Raptors were posed with their Trump Match next and they did not want to take any risks and therefore sent forth the costliest player of PBL Season 5, World No. 1 Tai Tzu Ying to battle it out with the youngster Ashmita Chaliha. The player from North-East found it extremely difficult to return the shots of Tai Tzu as she delivered a masterclass in badminton to get the Bengaluru Raptors two more points on the board and momentarily leading at 3-2.
It was up to the Men's Doubles after that with Lee Yong Dae and B. Isara coming to represent the North Eastern Warriors side while Bengaluru sent A.George and R.A. Saputro to maintain the winning lead. However, Dae finally good cash in on all his experience in this match to absolutely bulldoze the Bengaluru side fair and square 15-12, 15-6. With that victory pocketed, the North Eastern Warriors had successfully won their Trump Match also and taken the lead once again. The tie stood at 4-3 with everything coming down on the Men's Singles clash.
The winning point of the day was secured by Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk when the Thai player delivered a stunning performance against Frenchman Brice Leverdez who represented the Bengaluru Raptors. Saensomboonsuk was incredible in certain points and drew the admiration of the rapt crowd cheering at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium in Chennai. Leverdez could not perform to his best today and it was the Thai shuttler who won the North Eastern Warriors their opening tie 15-7, 15-8.
The two days of PBL 5 has seen some brilliant badminton action and it is going to continue for nineteen more days with surprise acts and stunning performances coming from both expected and unexpected quarters. The Bengaluru Raptors need to start winning ties if they plan on defending their title but for now, the North Eastern Warriors can rejoice!