Bengaluru thrash Mumbai in PBL tie


Lucknow, Jan 2: Bengaluru Blasters outclassed Mumbai Rockets in a Premier Badminton League (PBL) contest here on Monday to climb to the top of the points table. While Bengaluru earned a total of six points from the match, Mumbai suffered a double blow as they incurred a tally of -1, which means one point will be deducted from their total kitty after their next tie. Monday's victory have ignited Bengaluru's campaign as they leapfrogged to the pole position from the bottom half of the points table.  Bengaluru have seven points from 10 matches and enjoy a comfortable three-point lead over second placed Awadhe Warriors.  Mumbai are at the bottom of the eight-team PBL standings with a meagre three points from 15 matches. The mixed doubles pair of Kim Sa Rang and N. Sikki Reddy defeated M.R. Arjun and Gabriela Stoeva 15-8, 10-15, 15-10 to give Bengaluru a 1-0 lead. Women's singles shuttler Kirsty Gilmour made it 2-0 for the southern side after going past Beiwen Zhang with a 15-14, 15-8 win. Sameer Verma faces Chong Wei Feng. Pressure is on the former to ensure that his team doesn't go in the negative zone. Reigning world champion Viktor Axelsen trump took the responsibility of playing Bengaluru's 'Trump Match' in which the Dane defeated South Korean Son Wan Ho 15-6, 15-13 to seal the tie. Malaysian star Chong Wei Feng bolstered Bengaluru's lead by defeating Sameer Verma 9-15, 15-8, 15-6 in Mumbai's 'Trump Match'. Verma made a good start, eking out a hard-fought win in the opening game. But the Malaysian bounced back by taking the next game.  Verma opened up a 4-2 lead in the early stages of the decisive third game. But Chong displayed cool nerves and superior shot placement to win the game and the match. Mathias Boe and Kim Sa Rang then rounded off an emphatic victory for Bengaluru by defeating Mumbai's Lee Yong Dae and Boon Heong 9-15, 15-10, 15-14 in a see-saw doubles encounter. Lee and Boon dominated the first game, opening up a comfortable 8-4 lead before the break. They continued the momentum after the restart, increasing their lead to 11-5 before eventually taking the first game. But Boe and Kim staged a strong comeback in the second game, taking a 5-1 lead in the early stages. Going into the break at 8-3, the Bengaluru duo continued to dominate before eventually winning the second game to level the scores. The third game started at a fast pace. Lee and Boon fought hard, but crumbled under pressure at the end. With the scores locked at 14-14, the decisive final point saw a tremendous rally of 46 shots before the Bengaluru managed to prevail.