New Delhi, Dec 27: Defending champions Cheni Smashers clinched their maiden win of the third season of the Premier Badminton League (PBL) after beating Mumbai Rockets 4-3 in the opener of the Delhi leg of the Rs 6 crore PBL at the Siri Fort Sports Complex here on Wednesday.
The pendulum swung both ways in the evening with Mumbai taking an early lead before Cheni won two back to back games to wrest back the lead.
Mumbai then won their trump match to regain the lead but Cheni fought back well to pocket their trump match and the contest as well.
Trailing 2-3 after the initial four ties, Cheni had their hopes pinned on the English couple of Chris and Gabrielle Adcock, who beat Mumbai combo of Gabriela Stoeva and M.R. Arjun 15-9, 13-15, 15-9 to bag the crucial two points in their trump match.
Earlier, Mumbai trusted on Son Wan-Ho for their Trump match and the South Korean responded in style by thrashing Thailand’s Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk in straight games 15-11, 15-5. There was no stopping the Korean, who cruised to a 8-2 lead in the opening game before finishing it off in style.
The second game also witnessed complete domition from Son, who ran away with a 8-3 lead at the break before coming back to thrash the Thai shutter and earn Mumbai the crucial two points.
In the third match of the evening, P.V. Sindhu came from behind to beat American of Chinese origin Beiwen Zhang 12-15, 15-7, 15-9 and give Cheni Smashers a 2-1 lead.
Beiwen pocketed the opening women’s singles game quite comfortably before the Rio Olympics silver medallist pulled up her socks to win the second game and take the contest to the decider.
In the decider, Beiwen headed to the break leading 8-7 but failed to sustain it, thanks to a number of unforced errors even as Sindhu kept her nerves to win it handsomely.
Before that, the men’s singles match between Brice Leverdez and Sameer Verma went down to the wire even as the World No. 24 Frenchman edged past to help Cheni draw level.
Both Leverdez and Verma went neck and neck in the opening game even as the latter stuck his neck out with a slim 8-6 lead at the break. Coming back, the Cheni Smashers shuttler clawed his way back to take the game with a golden point after being squared at 14-14.
In the second game, Leverdez bounced back from being 3-7 down to collect four successive points before World No.30 Verma picked up one point to head to the breather with a slender 8-7 lead.
Verma then came back brilliantly to pocket the second game and take the match to the decider.
The third game tilted both ways until Leverdez pipped the Indian 8-6 at the break but Verma came back strongly with some exquisite smashes to draw level at 14-14 but it was heartbreak for the Indian at the end. (IANS)