Bengaluru Raptors capain Kidambi Srikanth won his fifth match in a row to help his team beat the Mumbai Rockets 5-0 and inch closer to a semi-final berth in the Premier Badminton League at the Kanteerava Indoor Stadium, Bengaluru on Tuesday.

Bengaluru needed a minimum of four points to move into the top four and they were successful in their attempt as they won the first four matches, including their trump match.

The result knocked the Pune 7 Aces out of contention.

With 18 points in their kitty, Bengaluru now trail Mumbai by just one point. But with a match in hand, they have a strong chance of overtaking the two-time runners-up.

World No. 18 Anders Antonsen of Mumbai put up a brilliant performance against the Bengaluru skipper Kidambi Srikanth but fell short at the very end in each game as the former World No. 1 sealed a narrow 15-14, 15-13 victory.

Ten ranking places separate World No. 8 Srikanth and the Dane but Antonsen refused to let that matter.

With an array of body smashes the Raptors player went up to 8-5 but Antonsen came storming back to 9-9. With the two tied at 13-13, the Dane advanced to 14-13 and had a game point which Srikanth erased by taking the next two points. The second game turned out to be as competitive as the first one. Both of them resorted to aggressive display and were even till 13-13 once more until Srikanth made one last push to securethe win.

A clash between Pullela Gopichand Academy training partners Sameer Verma and Sai Praneeth unfolded in a thrilling fashion as the two exchanged games before Sai inflicted a 12-15, 15-5, 15-13 defeat on the Mumbai trump.

BWF World Tour Finals semi-finalist Verma of Mumbai remained calm and steady to claw his way back from 4-8 down in the opener. With Sai’s game collapsing into a heap of errors, the World No. 12 drew level at 10-10 and then sailed away to 15-12.

Sai came back with a bang to completely destroy Sameer and race ahead to 8-2. The one-way traffic continued as Sai kept his attack going to take the game 15-5.

In a dramatic third game, Sameer had the early 8-1 advantage. In a twist to the tale, Sameer lost his way post the mid-game interval. A much more poised Sai clawed his way back to 11-11 and edged Sameer 15-13 in a tense finish to snap Sameer’s winning streak.

Earlier in the day, Bengaluru always had the upper hand in the women’s singles and they lived up to the expectations. World No. 59 Vu Thi Trang of the Raptors had never met Mumbai’s 202nd ranked Shreyanshi Pardeshi on the international circuit, but her experience was definitely her asset.

The Vietnamese, also the Raptors’ Trump for the night, blew away the young Indian in the first game 15-4. However, Pardeshi refused to be intimidated and pocketed the second game 15-11 only to see Vu find her game for a 15-4, 11-15, 15-7 win.

With former men’s doubles world champions Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan being in the line-up, the Raptors had every right to feel confident against the Mumbai duo of Lee Yong Dae and Kim Gi Jung. Having triumphed thrice in four outings so far, the Indonesians had the edge and they wrapped the match up in straight games, winning 15-11, 15-11.

The Mumbai pair stayed close on their heels in the first game, trailing by just a solitary point at 10-11. But a string of unforced errors saw them lose their way.

The Mumbai Rockets salvaged some pride in the final rubber of the day. Their mixed doubles pair of Pia Zebadiah and Kim Gi Jung beat Bengaluru’s CWG silver medallists Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith 15-14, 15-13. This is the fifth loss in as many matches for the Bengaluru pair.