Sameer Verma, the World Tour semi-finalist, continued with his impressive form as he upset Delhi Dashers’ star player HS Prannoy to lead Mumbai Rockets to a convincing win in their opening match of the Premier Badminton League in Mumbai on Sunday.
Shreyanshi Pardeshi then stunned Evgeniya Kosetskaya of Russia 12-15, 15-8, 15-10 to give the hosts a 5-0 win. It was a scintillating performance from the diminutive youngster against an opponent who is ranked 169 places above her in the world rankings.
In the opening game, Shreyanshi struggled to tackle the height advantage of her Russian opponent and was mostly chasing the shuttle in rallies. After losing the opening game, the world number 201 changed tactics by hitting her tosses slightly higher, and deploying quick cross-court drops.
The stronger defense also helped Shreyanshi’s cause as she virtually raced through the next two games to bring Delhi Dashers’ tally down to zero.
Earlier, with Mumbai already taking a 3-0 lead with Lee Yong Dae and Kim Gi Sung winning their trump match and Anders Antonsen excelling on debut, Verma knew that he could wrap up the tie with two rubbers still to play.
However, it was Prannoy who got off the blocks first as he opened up a 4-0 lead. Verma then concentrated on prolonging the rallies, something he thrives on, and managed to take the opening game 15-14. The second game then turned out to be a one-sided affair as he clinched it easily to win 15-14, 15-9 and give his team a 4-0 lead.
But such a strong start looked difficult when the hosts had a fright in their opening trump match when Yong Dae and Kim lost the opening game. As losing a trump can cost an additional point to the team, and it was important for the Korean pair to turn things around. They did that in style to win the next two games, and the match 14-15, 15-12, 15-9.
Antonsen was equally dominant against Indonesia’s Sugiarto as he clinched a point for his team with a 15-13, 15-7 win.