PBL 2018 | Hyderabad Hunters rout Awadhe Warriors to go top

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PBL 2018 | Hyderabad Hunters rout Awadhe Warriors to go top

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SportsCafe Desk

01/08/2018

Hyderabad Hunters inflicted a humiliating 6-(-1) defeat on the Awadhe Warriors winning all of their matches, including Carolina Marin beating Saina Nehwal in straight games, to rise to the top of the table. The result now leaves the Saina-led side on the brink of elimination from the PBL.

The excitement before the match was palpable as the second-placed side, playing their last league game, faced off against the last placed side, in just their fourth game, and who where fighting for survival. The added context that Saina, leading the Awadhe Warriors, was going back to face a side from the city that she grew up in added to the intrigue. However, as the match progressed, it was anything but close. 

After the Hunters had won two closely fought games, Mixed Doubles and the Men’s singles, in deciders, the onus was on the Warriors to deliver and level the scores with Kidambi Srikanth facing off against Sai Praneeth in the Warriors’ Trump match. The game started with Srikanth producing his typical powerful smashes and deceptive shots and looked to running away with the game. However, Praneeth with some gritty play caught up with the World No. 3 and that is when Srikanth started to falter and, in no time at all, Praneeth, with a cross-court smash, won the first game 15-10.

From then on, Praneeth looked like a completely different player. Not only was he getting all the points, but he was making his more accomplished compatriot move all across the court. Such was the dominance of the Hunters’ star that he went into the mid-game break with a lead of 8-0. Even though Srikanth did try to fight back in the second part of the game, it was a step too far and he ended up conceding the game, the match, and the tie 15-10.

With the tie already sealed, the Hunters, who started the day dead last on the table, found themselves level on points with Ahmedabad and Awadhe in the top four. From there on it was all about damage control for the Warriors. But it wasn’t to be. The Hunters had picked Carolina Marin as their trump match and the Spaniard showcased her dominance by just allowing Saina to take 12 points off her in both games combined. In an utterly one-sided encounter, Saina conceded her match 15-5, 15-7 to the reigning Olympic Champion.

After the loss, Awadhe were already out of contention for a place in the semi-finals of the tournament which made the second doubles match of the day a dead rubber for them. And it showed as the Warriors’ pairing lost the match by losing both their games with identical scores of 15-9.

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Bengaluru Bulls or Tamil Thalaivas? Who will win?

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