Mumbai girl Prajakta Sawant and India’s doubles specialist V Diju stole the show on Saturday as Krrish Delhi Smashers staged a tremendous fightback to beat a formidable Hyderabad Hotshots 3-2 in an Indian Badminton League (IBL) clash at Lucknow on Saturday.
Hyderabad were leading 2-0 at the end of the men’s and women’s singles matches after Thailand’s Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk beat Sai Praneeth 19 -21, 21 -19, 11 -7 in the men’s singles and Saina Nehwal outclassed Arundhati Panthawane 21-6, 21-8 in the women’s singles.
Delhi 0-2 down
Later, it was Delhi all the way. First in the men’s doubles, world champions Boon Hoeng Tan and Kien Keat Koo beat V Shem Goh and T Kona 21-14, 21 -20. Then, Malaysian Daren Liew of Delhi stunned veteran Taufik Hidayat 21-10, 21-7 in the second men’s singles match.
Prajakta, roped into the match only because Delhi’s icon player Jwala Gutta was injured, got together with V Diju in the mixed doubles event and beat V Shem Goh and Pradnya Gadre 21-20, 21-15.
The Delhi team’s Indian coach Vikram Bhasin was all praise for Prajakta. “She is not just a talented player, but more importantly, she has a very calm head on her shoulders which she proved today. The Delhi owners called me up immediately after the match and said they wanted to reward her for this performance. I handed the phone to Prajakta, who later told me that they have announced a cash award of USD 1000 for her outstanding effort,” Bhasin told Sunday MiD DAY.
Player of the Day award
Prajakta was also adjudged Vodafone Player of the Day that entitled a cash award of USD 500. Bhasin explained just why Prajakta was their preferred choice to partner Diju.
“Diju told us that Prajakta has very subtle wrists which is very good for doubles play where tough wrists don’t help. She can easily switch play from left to right and vice versa in one, swift action. That’s exactly what we saw today and it was fantastic,” said Bhasin.
Meanwhile, miles away from the scene of action, here in Mumbai, the Sawant household in Mulund was overjoyed. A source close to the family, said: “Prajakta just called to inform us that the team owners have announced a special award for her. She said they are thrilled with her performance and have referred to her as the diamond of this team.”