Badminton

Bengaluru Blasters grab a thrilling win over Ahmedabad Smash Masters to enter PBL final

N Sikki Reddy and Kim Sa Rang won the final mixed doubles match to give their team a 4-3 victory on points.

Hyderabad: N Sikki Reddy and Kim Sa Rang kept their nerves in a pulsating mixed doubles match to defeat Kamilla Rytter Juhl and Law Cheuk Him in three games to take Bengaluru Blasters to the Premier Badminton League final on Saturday.

With the second semi-final between Blasters and Ahmedabad Smash Masters tied at 3-3 after four matches, Sikki and Kim showed the composure to win the big points to win 15-12, 13-15, 15-9 and set up a summit clash against Hyderabad Hunters.

The Blasters had come within touching distance of victory couple of times in the semi-final and it looked like Sikki and Kim could also clinch the match in two games after opening up a 11-9 lead in the second game, having taken the first.

But Juhl and Law fought back to force and decider but could not turn the tables around once the Blasters’ pair opened up a 12-8 lead.

The stage was set for the decider after world champion Viktor Axelsen levelled the scores for Blasters with a 15-11, 15-14 win over HS Prannoy. The 24-year-old was in total control in the opening game, mixing things up with his big reach. And though, Prannoy managed to find a few chinks in his armour in the second game and even earned a game point by forcing the Dane into a error, he could not convert the opportunity and lost the next point and the match.

The second semifinal, however, would have not gone to the wire, had Kristy Gilmour managed to keep her composure and continued to pin world number one Tai Tzu Ying to the back court while just being three points away from victory.

The Scottish player had made the most of Tai’s errors to clinch the opening game and then raised hopes of an upset as she used her drives and powerful jump smashes to keep her opponent away from the net and take a 12-8 lead.

However, Tai showed why she has been so consisted over the past one year as she changed her pace and Gilmour played in her hands by playing the flatter trajectory. The world number one, who was also nominated as the trump by the Smash Masters, won five points in a row to take the match into the decider and then dominated the proceedings to win 8-15, 15-13, 15-8.

Image courtesy: PBL
Image courtesy: PBL

Earlier, the two teams split the first two matches of the tie but the Blasters took a 2-1 lead as the experienced combination of Mathias Boe and Kim Sa Rang defeated K Nandagopal and Lee Chun Hei Reginald 15-13, 15-12 after Sourabh Verma drew first blood for the Smash Masters with a 15-2, 14-15, 15-10 win in the first men’s singles.

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