BENGALURU: Tommy Sugiarto, the World no 11 from Indonesia was the hero for the Delhi Acers as he led his side to the final clash of the Premier Badminton League (PBL) with his 15-11, 15-10 win over Chennai Smashers’ Brice Leverdez in the trump match, here on Thursday.
The scores were level 2-2 when Sugiarto took the courts and courtesy his win, Delhi edged Chennai 3-2 in the semifinals.
In the first game, Sugiarto was leading 10-5 at one stage but Brice managed to reduce the margin to 11-13. However, he could not match the agility and skillful movements of Sugiarto.
In the enthralling second game, Sugiarto kept the nerves at the end prompting Brice to commit two crucial errors, which saw Delhi clinching the tie and entering for the title clash.
India’s star women’s shuttler P. V. Sindhu kept the hopes of Chennai alive to qualify into the final by thrashing P. C. Thulasi in the trump match 15-6, 15-7, which gave Chennai overall 3-2 points lead.
Down 0-2 in the tie, it was the Chennai mixed pair, Chris Adcock and Pia Zebadiah beat Gabrielle Adcock and Koo Keat Kien 15-9, 15- 14 of Delhi Acers to keep the hopes of Chennai alive.
Sindhu picked the first game of the fourth match quite easily over Thulasi, who failed to repeat her own performance from Wednesday night when she had denied Mumbai Rockets’ trump match.
Sindhu was making her best as she used her height to her advantage, making Thulasi clueless of her movements in the court and variety of stroke-plays she had in the store.
In men’s doubles, Koo Keat Kien and Tan Boon Heong of Delhi Acers clinched a thrilling encounter 15-10, 15-14 over Chris Adcock and Pranav Chopra.
Heong wrapped up the match in a thrilling second game when he smashed straight into the chest of the Adcock, who could not return, with the game ending at 15-14.
In the men’s singles, Delhi’s Ajay Jayaram came the better of Sony Dwi Kuncoro 14-15, 15-10, 15-7, giving an overall 2-0 lead in two matches of the tie. However, Jayaram lost the first game in a close fight, but trounced Kuncoro in the next two games, rather convincingly.
The match was not less entertaining than the first. The fans enjoyed the first game with the battle going down the wire with Sony wrapping up the game smashing to the right of Jayaram who struggled to reach to the shuttle.
The Chennai star did well to keep the match in the team’s kitty, especially after Jayaram was 6-8, two points behind Sony at the interval.
Sony however lost the second game as some casualness crept into his play, helping Jayaram to speed away with 15-10 victory.
Jayaram exploited the casual approach of Sony and played to his advantage by taking an early 8-2 lead at interval and continued with the tempo, claiming the decider with a margin of eight points, a clear reflection how Kuncoro lost the plot after winning the first game.