PBL 2018 | Bengaluru Blasters lose 2-3 to Chennai Smashers
Chennai Smashers emerged victorious over Bengaluru Blasters thanks to PV Sindhu who used her big match experience in securing a win in the trump game for her side. Chennai Smashers registered a 3-2 win over Bengaluru based franchise at Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium in Chennai on Monday.
The Bengaluru based team who led the points table managed to win their two men’s singles and one mixed doubles encounter. Chennai Smashers managed to win the crucial men’s doubles and women’s singles clash thanks to the doubles pair of Lee Yang and B Sumeeth Reddy, and Sindhu respectively.
The Smasher duo of Yang and Reddy successfully managed an upset as they registered a win against the Blasters team of Mathias Boe and Kim Sang Rang in the opening men’s doubles. But it was not an easy affair for Chennai as they lost the first game. The Chennai pair kept their nerves calm, while, and on the other hand, the Bengaluru pair seemed in pressure as it was a trump game for them. Yang and Reddy utilized the situation in their favor and bounced back after losing the first game to win the match 8-15, 15-14, 15-13 in front of their home crowd. Boe and Rang faced their first loss in the league and handed a negative point to their side.
The next game saw Chennai’s skipper Sindhu playing against Kirsty Gilmour. It was not an ideal start for the Indian as she lost five points in a row and trailed 1-5. Gilmour managed to hold her lead and went into the break with 8-6 points. The interval gave a chance to Sindhu to rise up to the challenge and she easily wrapped the first game 15-9.
Sindhu started the second game strongly and took the early advantage with some nice cross-court shots. Sindhu, who is known for her ability to make comebacks, raced to a 13-9 lead. It seemed like the Indian shuttler would easily finish the game, but Gilmour had different ideas as she grabbed four straight points to level the things. The game was decided on a golden point as both the players were tied on 14-14 and Sindhu utilized her experience and sealed the match in the Smashers' favor.
After losing thevtwo opening games, the responsibility was on World No 1 Viktor Axelsen to redeem some pride for the Blasters. He faced Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk in the men’s singles clash and soon raced to a 12-6 lead. The Thai player tried to come back into the game but it was too late for him as Axelsen ended the first game 15-11. Despite the loss in the opening game, Saensomboonsuk didn’t lose hope as he turned the tables in the second and with the help of some superb performances he won it 15-6. Axelsen seemed in pressure which forced him to show his best in the decider. He kept the shuttle low and with some good net play he made it difficult for Saensomboonsuk and Axelsen grabbed the first match with a 15-9 win in the third game.
The Bengaluru team would have shown their gratitude to Subhankar Dey. On his PBL debut, the Indian shuttler pulled off a convincing win which helped his side in gaining a crucial point. Dey had upset the highly rated Frenchman Brice Leverdez in straight games 15-12, 15-12.
The final match of the day was a mixed doubles contest where Chennai’s pair of Chris Adcock and Sindhu challenged Sikki Reddy and Rang. The first game was a neck-to-neck contest where Rang successfully returned Adcock’s serve with a smash down the line to claim the golden point.
The absence of Gabrielle Adcock forced Chennai to send Sindhu with Adcock but lack of communication during the game cost them. Sikki and Rang cashed the chance in their favor as they ended the tie with 15-14, 15-11 and won a crucial point to their team which helped them in decreasing the deficit.