Hyderabad: Mumbai Rockets won their last three matches to score a come from behind victory against hosts Hyderabad Hunters 4-1 in the Premier Badminton League (PBL) at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium on Monday.
The Hunters who were playing without former World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei, got off to a good start with a closely fought women’s singles contest where Supanida Katethong of Hyderabad defeated Liu Zi Die 13-15, 15-14, 15-14 to give the hosts a 1-0 lead.
The Denmark-Indonesia men’s doubles pair of Carsten Mogensen and Markis Kido made it 2-0 for the Hunters when they beat Vladimir Ivanov and Chayut Triyachart 15-7, 15-14 in 22 minutes.
It was H.S Prannoy who started to turn the fortune around in favor of Mumbai Rockets when he beat his senior and reigning Commonwealth Games men’s singles champion Parupalli Kashyap in Hunters’ Trump match. Prannoy broke Kashyap to take the first set 15-11. After 11-11 in the second set, Prannoy scored 4 out of the next 6 points to clinch the game 15-13. As the consequences of losing the Trump match, Hyderabad lost one point, while Mumbai gained one and the score of the tie was levelled at 1-1.
R.M.V. Gurusaidutt then gave the Rockets a huge advantage when he took total control to beat 16-year-old Siril Varma, runner-up in the 2015 world junior championship, 15-12, 15-4 in the second men’s singles match. This was Gurusaidutt’s Trump match for the Rockets and he earned 2 more points to put Rockets ahead with 3-1 after his victory.
“Siril is a very talented player, and I am satisfied with the result because my victory officially sealed the tie for our team,” said Gurusaidutt.
Jwala Gutta-Markis Kido of Hyderabad seemed demoralized after the second men’s singles loss, didn’t put up too much fight before going down to Mumbai’s Kamilla Juhl-Vladimir Ivanov 8-15, 8-15.
Hunters were out of PBL semi-final contention following their 1-4 loss against Mumbai Rockets.
Later Monday, Awadhe Warriors played without Saina Nehwal, but still strong enough to defeat Chennai Smashers that spearheaded by P.V Sindhu with 4-1.
The victory allowed Warriors to top the PBL standings with 17 points, followed by Delhi Acers with 15 points and both team have cemented their place in the top four. The other 2 spots are still up for grabs, it all depends on the final day of the league’s regular season that will be held on Wednesday when the Rockets clash with Acers, and then a battle between the Smashers and Top Guns. With Hyderabad Hunters already out of the semi-final contention, two out of these three teams namely Chennai Smashers, Mumbai Rockets and Bengaluru Top Guns will have chances to enter the semis.