PBL 2017 | Chennai Smashers beat Mumbai Rockets to the trophy in thrilling final

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© PBL 2017

PBL 2017 | Chennai Smashers beat Mumbai Rockets to the trophy in thrilling final

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SportsCafe Desk

01/15/2017

PV Sindhu's Chennai Smashers defeated Mumbai Rockets 4-3 in what turned out to be a classic final to win their maiden PBL title in New Delhi on Saturday. Sindhu beat Sung-Ji Hyun in the women's singles trump match, while Ajay Jayaram was unable to win it for Mumbai in a tense final match.

Chennai Smashers chose their opening mixed doubles match as their trump match with England pair of Chris Adcock and Gabrielle Adcock taking to the court against Mumbai pair of Nipitphon Puangpuapech and Nadiezda Zieba. Chennai went into the lead at 6-5 by the first break and managed to win a close first game by 11-9. It was in the second game that the Adcock pair truly upped their game. After trailing at 5-6 at the break, the duo won six straight points to seal the match 11-6, thus giving Chennai a 2-0 lead in the tie.

In the second rubber, PV Sindhu continued her superb form against World No. 3 Sung-Ji Hyun. With a capacity crowd at New Delhi cheering her, Sindhu won the first point of the match after coming out on top of a 29-shot rally. The contest was of the highest intensity as Hyun made it 4-2 but Sindhu won two more points to level things at 4-4. After producing a marathon rally of 44 shots which went Hyun's way at 6-5, Sindhu shifted gears to take the lead at 8-7 and finally win the first game at 11-8.

The second game saw Sindhu taking a 6-5 lead at the break and then winning three straight points to make it 9-5. With the Indian taking a 10-6 lead, it looked as though the match was over. However, Hyun won a 22-shot rally to make it 10-7 and then reduced the deficit to two points when Sindhu ended up hitting the net. Sindhu finally held her nerve to win the match point and then the second game at 11-8, much to the delight of the Delhi crowd. With Chennai taking a big 3-0 lead, Mumbai were forced to call their next men's doubles clash as their trump match.

The men's doubles duo of Yong Dae Lee and Nipitphon Puangpuapech produced a superb show to beat the Chennai pair of Chris Adcock-Mads Pieler Kolding 12-10, 11-6 to keep Mumbai's hopes alive in the final. After an intense first game which Mumbai won by 12-10, the second game saw them racing to a 3-0 lead. Though there was an initial hiccup when they let the lead slip to 3-2, the Mumbai pair went from 7-3 to 9-6 before eventually wrapping up the match at 11-6.

The first men's singles of the night between HS Prannoy and Parupalli Kashyap turned out to be an evenly-contested affair. Chennai's Prannoy dominated the first game with his powerful smashes to win it 11-4, but Kashyap produced a spirited fightback to win the next game 11-8. 

In the decider, Prannoy went into an early 3-0 lead and maintained it at 6-3 after Kashyap was treated by the medical team due to a shoulder strain. Despite the niggle, the 2014 CWG gold medalist slowly raised his game and reduced the gap to one point at 7-8. However, Prannoy prevailed, taking the third game and the match at 11-8. Mumbai drew level with Chennai on points at 3-3 with this win.

This set up a tense final game, which was also a men's singles, between Tanongsak S (Chennai) and Ajay Jayaram (Mumbai). Jayaram won the first game 11-9 with Tanongsak committing several unforced errors. But the Thailand player came back strongly in the second game with powerful smashes to win 11-7. However, Jayaram lost steam in the third game with Tanongsak going from a 5-3 lead to win the match and the title for Chennai at 11-3. Mumbai, on the other hand, had to remain satisfied being the runners-up for the second consecutive year.

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