Hyderabad: Despite home team captain and star shuttler PV Sindhu suffering a shocking loss, Hyderabad Hunters eased past Chennai Smashers — to record their second consecutive win and top the points table at the Premier Badminton League (PBL) match held at Gachibowli Indoor Stadium on Tuesday.
Hyderabad Hunters got off to a fine start with the men’s doubles pair of Booin Isara and Kim Sa Rang overcoming the challenge posed by Or Chin Chung and local hero B Sumeeth Reddy to win the opener 13-15,15-12, 15-10, giving the home team two valuable points. Having lost the opening game, Kim and Isara were trailing 4-10 in the second game and looked lost against the Chennai Smashers men’s pair. However, the South Korean-Thailand pair overcome the opponents with quick flat strokes to force a decider and then wrap the match.
In the men’s singles contest, South Korean veteran Lee Hyun Il won a close match against Wei Feng Chong 15-11, 15-13. The battle of the two left-handers saw quite a few rallies played from the back of the court and every time it felt like the Chennai Smashers shuttler was looking to make a comeback, the experienced South Korean turned things around. The second game was tied at 13-13 when Lee Hyun broke Chong’s defence twice, providing the Hunters a strong 3-0 lead.
The third and the most awaited contest of the night, between Hyderabad’s star shuttler PV Sindhu and World no.8 Sung Ji Hyun saw high drama with Sung winning a close first game 15-13 and Sindhu staging a comeback in the second game 15-14 to make it 1-1. Sindhu was trailing for the most part of the second game before taking the lead at 10-9 for the first time and forced the decider after winning the game on the deciding point.
In the third game, the Hunters captain started off on a defensive note with Sung Ji maintaining a clear lead right from the start and helped the visitors register their first points in the match.
In the second singles match between Smashers’ trump P Kashyap and Mark Caljouw, the Hunters player won the first game 15-11. Kashyap showed tremendous grit to come back well in the second game 15-14. In the all-important third game, Mark held the nerves to seal the match 15-13 and Chennai lost their earned point.