PBL-3: Chennai's dogged display raises semi-final hopes

File Photo: PV Sindhu
IANS|09-Jan-2018 10:33

Chennai, Jan 8 : Defending champions Chennai Smashers, spearheaded by P.V. Sindhu, continued to remain in the hunt for a semi-final spot in the Premier Badminton League (PBL) after collecting three points against Bengaluru Blasters here on Monday.

Chennai began on a rousing note winning their men's doubles and women's singles ties but then lost both the men's singles matches which levelled the scores 2-2. 

They, however, led Bengaluru 3-1 on points.

Chennai were cruising along well but Subhankar Dey threw a spanner in their works by shocking Brice Leverdez 15-12, 15-12. Dey playing his first PBL match rattled the World No. 24 Frenchman with an attacking display to help Bengaluru make a comeback in the tie.

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The win helped Bengaluru collect their second point but since they had lost their Trump match, their overall tally after four duels on the day stood at 1.

Playing their final match of the season in front of their home crowd at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium, Chennai's grit was evident in the first men's doubles match when Yang Lee and B. Sumeeth Reddy made a sensational turnaround to upset Mathias Boe and Kim-Sa Ran 2-1. 

They lost the first game 8-15 but showed tremendous resilience in the next two tight games to win 15-14 and 15-13 to surge ahead 1-0.

The loss was a big blow for Bengaluru as they had nominated it as their Trump match, which meant they ended up with a negative point (-1).

Sindhu then took charge in her Trump match and upstaged Kristy Gilmour 15-9, 15-14. Although the Scottish girl threatened to take the contest into the third game, Sindhu sealed it in the second game which was a tie-breaker. 

The victory swelled Chennai's points tally to three from two matches.

The first men's singles match was an extension of Chennai's bravado that had been on display in the earlier two matches. Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk stretched World No.1 Viktor Axelsen 11-15, 15-6, 9-15. 

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The 'Great Dane', however, showed his class to upstage the Thai to win the first match of the day for Bengaluru and also their first point.

Chennai were languishing at the bottom of the eight-team standings with just nine points before their final league match but the manner in which they fought back has suddenly raised their hopes of making it to the last four stage.

Bengaluru were relatively well-placed before their penultimate league encounter having tallied 13 points. 

The result of the outcome against Chennai notwithstanding, they have an opportunity to finish the league on a high as they will taking on current league leaders Hyderabad Hunters (14 points) in their final tie in Hyderabad on Thursday.