Mumbai Rockets beat Awadhe Warriors 3-2 (4-1 on points) at Lucknow on Thursday to keep their chances of booking a place in the knockout stages alive in the Premier Badminton League. The league moves to Chennai from Friday.

Going into the final encounter of the day, Rockets’ trump men’s doubles duo of Lee Yong Dae and Tan Boon Heong beat Warriors’ Hendra Setiawan and Or Chin Chung 15-13, 15-12 to register their second win of the season.

The win gave them four crucial points that took them to fifth on the table with a total of 10 point. Despite the loss, Warriors’ solitary point from fixture was enough for them to consolidate their place at the top of the table with 12 points.

In the super-match of the day, world no 3 Kidambi Srikanth of India overcame a stiff challenge from Korea’s world no 5 Son Wan Ho to pick-up a thrilling 15-13, 13-15, 15-4 victory to reduce Warriors’ deficit. Srikanth who was on a two-match losing streak, did well to pick up the win and log in a crucial point for his team.

In the women’s singles match, Saina Nehwal pulled off a stunning 8-15, 15-10, 15-13 victory over World No.11 Beiwen Zhang of USA to keep Awadhe Warriors afloat in the tie against Mumbai Rockets.

Nehwal, who is coming into the match at the back of a defeat against world no 1 Tai Tzu Ying, proved to be no match against Beiwen in the opening game. The US shuttler was using the length of the court perfectly, tormenting the Indian with her superb cross-court drops and smashes, racing to a victory in the opening game in no time.

But the resilient Nehwal got back into the match. Even though Beiwen was leading in the initial phases of second game, the Indian slowly turned the tide and went into break leading 8-7. She did not allow Beiwen any chance post the interval and wrapped up the game to restore parity.

In the final game, Saina was in no mood to let go and brought all her experience into play. She punished the tired Beiwen and went into the break with a lead of 8-4. Even though Beiwen troubled Nehwal with her impeccable net-play and saved three match points, the latter wrapped up the game.

The tie is was crucial for the Rockets as they are currently languishing at the bottom of the table. Earlier in the day, Sameer Verma picked up a comfortable 15-6, 15-14 straight games victory against his compatriot Harshit Aggarwal to give Mumbai Rockets a huge 2-1 over Awadhe Warriors in this five match duel.

Aggarwal, replacing Parupalli Kashyap in the line-up, could not mount a serious challenge on his senior pro and went down meekly in the opening game. He made a valiant attempt in the second game, and even though he was looking in better touch, Verma sealed the deal with a smash.

In the first match of the day, mixed doubles pair of Lee Yong Dae and Gabriela Stoeva pulled off a major coup by beating Christinna Pedersen and Tang Chun Man 15-10, 14-15, 15-7 to give the Rockets an early lead. The match also saw the Warriors lose a point as it was their trump match.


Gabriela Stoeva/Lee Yong Dae beat Christinna Pedersen/Tang Chun Man [15-10, 15-14, 15-7]

Men’s singles: Sameer Verma beat Harshit Aggarwal [15-6, 15-14]

Women’s singles: Saina Nehwal beat Beiwen Zhang [8-15, 15-10, 15-13]

Women’s singles: Kidambi Srikanth beat Son Wan Ho [15-13, 13-15, 15-4]

Mixed doubles: Lee Yong Dae/Tan Boon Heong beat Hendra Setiawan/Or Chin Chung [15-13, 15-12]