The Premier Badminton League action has shifted states with the Chennai leg concluding on 24th January 2020. The city of Lucknow will be home to the next slew of matches with the Babu Banarasi Das Indoor Stadium providing the center stage for all the drama to unfold. To begin proceedings at Lucknow, the Pune 7 Aces opened their PBL Season 5 account with a stunning victory recorded against the Mumbai Rockets team.
It was a shocking defeat for the Rockets as much more was expected from the team that finished as PBL runners-up. However, in their first tie, their efforts went in vain as the underdog team of the Pune 7 Aces shone bright, defeating the Rockets fair and square 5-2.
The first rubber of the evening saw the Men's Doubles clash between Pune's Chirag Shetty and Hendra Setiawan against Mumbai's K.G Jung and K.S Rang. The match ran into three games and was incredibly intense with long rallies being the order. The two-time World Championships bronze medalists, Jung and Rang, failed to outclass Shetty and reigning World Champion Setiawan. After a really tight first game, Shetty and Setiawan gained full control of the match, defeating them 14-15, 15-5, 15-6.
In the next match, Rituparna Das stepped on court to play the Trump Match for the Pune side against youngster Shriyanshi Pardeshi. It was yet another nail-biter which stretched over three games but ultimately saw the former National Champion winning the match 11-15, 15-9, 15-9. It was a really standout performance by Das which gave the Pune side an all-important lead.
The World No. 36 Loh Kean Yew was faced with the challenge of 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Parupalli Kashyap. Although Kashyap was brilliant on some points, overall, his performance fell flat as Yew led the way to victory in straight games. A slew of errors off the Kashyap racket ensured it was Kean Yew who won comfortably 15-7, 15-14.
In the penultimate rubber of the evening, Lee Dong Keun clashed with Kazumasa Sakkai. It was the Trump match for the Mumbai Rockets and Keun was their best hope. Soon enough, Keun ensured that the Mumbai Rockets was correct in placing their hope in him as he won them the Trump Match effectively in 7-15, 13-15. With that the scoreboard read 4-2 with the Pune 7 Aces leading on board.
In the final match we had the Mixed Doubles face-off with Pune sending the pair of Chris and Gabby Adcock against Kim Gi Jung and P.Z Bernadeth, who came from the Mumbai side. Although, the tie victory was already secured by Loh Kean Yew's trump victory, the mixed doubles proved to be a thoroughly intense clash. Running into a three-game thriller, Chris and Gabby Adcock really put in their all to defeat Jung/Bernadeth 15-12, 10-15, 15-6. With that, a wholesome 5-2 dominating victory over the Mumbai Rockets was claimed.Published 26 Jan 2020, 01:34 IST