New Delhi: Delhi Acers who was the only team in the entire Premier Badminton League (PBL) which did not lose its Trump Match, were pushed to the limit by Mumbai Rockets before clinching the PBL title by beating Mumbai Rockets 4-3 in a pulsating final encounter that lasted almost four hours on Sunday.
The hosts started the tie on a losing note when Akshay Dewalkar and Gabrielle Adcock were defeated by Vladimir Ivanov and Kamilla Rytter Juhl of Mumbai 6-15, 12-15 in 24 minutes in the mixed doubles match to give the visiting team a 1-0 lead.
World No. 11 Indonesian Tommy Sugiarto then brought stability and strength as he maintained his unbeaten record in the league by taming Rockets’ H.S. Prannoy 13-15, 15-9, 15-9 in the first men’s singles to level the tie at 1-1.
Next up, former World No. 1 Koo Keat Kien and Tan Boon Heong of Delhi Acers were involved in an intense battle with Mathias Boe and Vladimir Ivanov in the men’s doubles match. Koo/Tan lost the first set to Boe/Ivanov with 14-15, but the Acers staged a great comeback to win the second set with 15-10. Koo/Tan were the overwhelmed pair to clinch the tie when they established a 10-3 lead against Boe/Ivanov in the decider. Nevertheless, Boe and Ivanov started fighting back point by point to eventually level the score at 14-14 to make crowd biting their nails. However, Boe/Ivanov faltered at the last shot when they hit their shuttlecock outside the baseline which saw Delhi’s Koo/Tan winning the enticing battle to give Delhi Acers a 2-1 lead.
“It’s unbelievable! We have to stay focused until the last moment. Although we lost the first game, but winning the second set was a big motivation for us. We eventually managed to see off Boe/Ivanov in the decider,” said Tan.
Mumbai Rockets’ Li Han, who was high on beating Saina Nehwal in her previous match, helped Mumbai surged ahead with a 3-2 lead when she won her Trump match against Delhi’s P.C Thulasi with 12-15, 15-8, 15-8.
In Delhi Acers’ Trump match, Rajiv Ouseph used all his experience to outwit Gurusai Dutt, winning 15-11, 15-6 to eventually hand Delhi the tile victory in front of home crowd.