PBL 2018: Hyderabad Hunters stay at the top as Delhi Dashers bow out with a win

Avinash Sharma

Bengaluru, January 9: PV Sindhu's brilliant victory went in vain as former champions Delhi Dashers grabbed a 4-3 win over the defending champions Hyderabad Hunters at the Premier Badminton (PBL) League Season 4 at the Kanteerava Indoor Stadium, here on Wednesday (January 9).

The loss, however, could not make any difference for the Hunters, who continue to enjoy the top position in the table standings, with 24 points. As for Delhi, this was their first victory in six matches in what has been a season to forget.

Six-time Grand Slam champion Sania Mirza was at the stadium to cheer for PV Sindhu and the tennis star wasn't disappointed. World No. 32 Evgeniya Kosetskaya of the Dashers was no match for the BWF World Tour Finals winner Sindhu.

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With the added responsibility of the Hyderabad Trump, the World No. 3 was in no mood to relent and effortlessly finished a 15-11, 15-9 win.

In the first game, the Russian was able to keep it competitive till 7-7 after which Sindhu wrested away control of the proceedings. Sindhu's pinpoint smashes helped her jump to 10-7 in the second game and she never allowed her opponent to come closer before wrapping up the match.

Earlier, HS Prannoy, who has struggled with a knee injury and breathing issues this season, made a winning return as he edged Hyderabad's World No. 146 Rahul Yadav Chittaboina 15-10, 9-15, 15-12. Prannoy's blistering backhands were on song right from the word go and he opened up a 10-6 lead in the first game in no time.

However, with a few errors creeping into his game, the 2018 Asian Championships bronze medallist fell behind 4-8 in the second game. The lower-ranked Chittaboina seized this opportunity to set up a decider, where Prannoy found his form again. With his smashes finding their mark, the Delhi shuttler raced ahead to 7-3 before closing out the match.

Delhi rightly selected their men's doubles pair of Chai Biao and Maneepong Jongjit as their Trump for the day. Against the Hunters duo of Bodin Isara and Arun George, the pair looked slightly off-colour and conceded the first game 8-15.

However, that was a wake-up call for the Trump pair. They rebounded strongly in the second and the third games to grab an 8-15, 15-8, 15-8 victory.

Tommy Sugiarto and Mark Caljouw had never met on the international circuit before. But there was no surprise in their first-ever meeting as World No. 9 Sugiarto made short work of the Hyderabad player 15-6, 15-11 in a performance that was one of the very best from the Indonesian.

The former World Championships bronze medallist built a 5-1 advantage in a flash and it soon became a seven-point difference between them as Sugiarto went up to 11-4. In the second game, the experienced Indonesian once more did not let the Dutchman play his naturally aggressive game. The tactic worked beautifully in favour of the Delhi brigade as the Season 1 MVP pocketed the win.

Hyderabad, however, wasn't disheartened by the smashing display from the former champions. They made up for it by finishing the tie on a high with a win in mixed doubles. Kim Sa Rang and Eom Hye Won teamed up to get a 15-7, 15-12 win over Delhi's Wang Sijie and Chia Hsin Lee.

Source: Media Release

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