North Eastern Warriors demolished Chennai Superstarz 3-(-1) to reach the final of the Premier Badminton League for the first time at the GMC Balayogi SATS Indoor Stadium in Hyderabad on Friday.
Lee Cheuk Yiu and the mixed doubles pair of Lee Yong Dae-Kim Ha Na had put the Guwahati-based franchise ahead in their first-ever semi-final appearance in the tournament before Bodin Isara and Krishna Prasad Garaga beat the Chennai Trump of Sumeeth Reddy and Dhruv Kapila to clinch victory for the Warriors.
North Eastern Warriors had the momentum coming into this match having beaten the Chennai franchise, winners of Season 2, in their last league encounter. And they continued in the same vein even today.
With Satwiksairaj Rankireddy rested due to an ankle injury, it was left to former national champion Sumeeth Reddy to shoulder Chennai Superstarz’s doubles responsibility. And he put in a herculean effort in both men’s and mixed doubles. Joining forces with Dhruv Kapila, he played the Chennai Trump against the Warriors’ Bodin Isara and Krishna Prasad Garaga.
Isara’s aggression and precision was the biggest highlight of the opening game. With the young Garaga complementing him well, the Warriors took the opening game 15-13. The second game went to the wire with Reddy and Kapila bagging the deciding point to force a third game.
But they could not do much against the guile of Isara, who raised the bar, to clinch the match and the semi-final with a 15-13, 14-15, 15-10 win.
Earlier, in the first match of the day, Reddy and Jessica Pugh put in a spectacular effort in mixed doubles only to taste defeat against the formidable combine of Lee Yong Dae and Kim Ha Na. 2008 Olympic mixed doubles champion Lee and former World No. 1 Kim Ha Na’s vast experience helped them pull through 15-12, 9-15, 15-14 in a highly entertaining contest.
Lee Cheuk Yiu, who had claimed five victories in the league stage, then made it 2-0 for the Warriors with a 15-21, 15-12 win over Tommy Sugiarto.