A day before facing the table toppers Awadhe Warriors in the semi-finals, the Bengaluru Raptors got a huge boost of confidence by beating former champions Chennai Smashers in the Premier Badminton League at the Kanteerava Indoor Stadium.
Bengaluru skipper Kidambi Srikanth recorded his sixth win in as many matches and Sai Praneeth contributed to the team’s win as well.
While the Raptors were drawn to face the Awadhe Warriors on the first day of the semi-finals, defending champions Hyderabad Hunters will take on two-time runners-up Mumbai Rockets in the second semi-final on Saturday.
With the in-form Son Wan Ho in their line-up, the Warriors will pose some serious threat for last season’s runners-up Bengaluru. PV Sindhu, meanwhile, will try her best to inspire the Hunters when they meet the Lee Yong Dae and Sameer Verma-led Rockets.
In the final league match of the season, Bengaluru’s Trump Srikanth was highly impressive once again. Looking lethal as ever, the former world No 1 hardly broke a sweat in his 15-10, 15-10 win over Chennai’s Chong Wei Feng.
Srikanth relentlessly attacked the forehand wing of the southpaw with his sharp down-the-line smashes, building an 8-5 lead and extending it further to take the first game.
A couple of errors in the second game allowed the Chennai shuttler to draw level at 7-7 but Srikanth’s smashes soon made a difference and helped him get his sixth win on the trot.
Having beaten Sameer Verma in the previous match to end his winning streak, Sai Praneeth came out all guns blazing against Chennai’s Trump Parupalli Kashyap to record a 15-11, 15-12 victory.
With five wins in as many matches, former world No 2 Sung Ji Hyun of the Smashers was the overwhelming favourite over Bengaluru’s 59th ranked Vu Thi Trang. And she did not disappoint, notching up a 15-10, 14-15, 15-10 win.
Trang was able to prevent her opponent from running away to a big lead until half-time in the first game. The complexion of the match changed soon after as the Korean upped the intensity of her game to grab the opener.
Vu made a turnaround by jumping out to 10-6 in the next game. However, mounting errors and tiredness pushed Sung up to 14-13, but Vu still dug deep to set up a decider. But the world No 11 got into the groove to complete the victory.
Earlier, the tie started off with a surprise as Chennai’s men’s doubles pair of Chris Adcock and Or Chin Chung upset Bengaluru’s world No 9 pair of Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan 14-15, 15-9, 15-11.
The former world champions had lost only one match coming into this showdown and began with a lot of positivity, taking the opening game on a golden point. However, Chung managed to mix up his play after that and took the match away from the Indonesians.