The excitement meter never stops even as the Premier Badminton League action shifted to Lucknow with the Pune 7 Aces and the Bengaluru Raptors playing out a sensational tie that was determined by the final match.
A match of such close proportions is a rare spectacle but the Aces and Raptors ensured that fans were left on the edge of their seats. Despite Tai Tzu Ying's presence, the defending champions, Bengaluru Raptors have not been able to enjoy much success so far, while the Pune 7 Aces have climbed up the ranking tables after their 4-3 victory against the Raptors.
It was Kazumaza Sakai who pushed the Aces off to a winning start when he ably took down Ansal Yadav in a shattering, straight-game defeat. Yadav did not manage to cause any harm to Sakai despite his clever shot-placing. The 29-year-old Japanese from the Aces was simply relentless and Yadav had to bow out after losing 15-14, 15-9. With that, the Pune 7 Aces had gotten off to a comfortable start.
In the next rubber, Loh Kean Yew of the Pune 7 Aces took on Indian favorite B. Sai Praneeth. The 11th seed was expected to deliver and soon enough, it was the 27-year-old boy from Hyderabad who extended his dominance over Yew. The match turned into a slow thriller with Bengaluru's Praneeth ensuring it was a three-game showdown. After losing the first to Yew, Praneeth bounced back to win the next two with flair, 15-10, 7-15, 8-15.
In the Trump Match for the Bengaluru Raptors, World No. 1 and costliest buy of the PBL Season 5, Tai Tzu Ying came forward to battle it out with Rituparna Das. Although Das was a bit resistant at times, it was simply a regular day at office for Ying, who went about her business and won the match in straight games. Ying enjoyed a very comfortable victory against Das, defeating her 3-15, 9-15.
In the next rubber, the Pune 7 Aces sent their star doubles duo of Chirag Shetty and Hendra Setiawan as their Trump Match pairs. The Bengaluru side of Arun George and R.A. Saputro could not match up and Shetty and Setiawan and they had it fairly easy, winning in straight games, 15-14, 15-3. With that, the scoreboard looked leveled up at 3-3.
It all came down to the Mixed Doubles once again to determine the winner of the tie. The pair of Chris Adcock and Gabrielle Adcock took on Chan Peng Soon and Eom Hye Won . The Adcocks, representing the Pune 7 Aces has been delivering punching performances so far. The Bengaluru side tried their best to offer opposition but could not succeed save for losing the first game; the Adcock pair emerged winners in 10-15, 15-11, 15-12. It was a very well-deserved victory by the Adcocks as they won the tie for the Pune 7 Aces side to launch them to the 2nd position on the rank table with 9 points to their credit.Published 28 Jan 2020, 00:32 IST