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PBL: Hyderabad Hunters down Bengaluru Top Guns

Despite losing to Ashwini Ponnappa/Joachim Fischer Nielsen, Jwala Gutta-led Hyderabad beat Bengaluru 3-2 in Mumbai

India's highest ranked male shutter, Kidambi Srikanth, pulled off an upset victory over former World No 1 Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia, but his team Bengaluru Top Guns went down 2-3 to Hyderabad Hunters in the Premier Badminton League clash yesterday.

Hyderabad Hunters' Jwala Gutta (right) and Markis Kido during their mixed doubles match against Bengaluru Top Guns' Ashwini Ponnappa and Joachim Fischer Nielsen at NSCI yesterday. Pic/PTI
Hyderabad Hunters' Jwala Gutta (right) and Markis Kido during their mixed doubles match against Bengaluru Top Guns' Ashwini Ponnappa and Joachim Fischer Nielsen at NSCI yesterday. Pic/PTI

Hyderabad had wrapped up the tie even before World No 9 Srikanth's battle against World No 5 Srikanth by winning two out of the first three matches, but still it was a very creditable win by the Indian, who has never beaten the Malaysian great in four encounters at the international level.

The Hunters, in fact, rallied from an early loss to overcome the Top Guns at the NSCI Sardar Vallabhai Patel indoor stadium. Hyderabad started on the wrong foot by losing the first match, the women's singles clash, when their Thai signing Supanida Katethong was beaten in straight games (15-8, 15-11) to Bengaluru's Suo Di.

However, the Hunters gamble of making the men's doubles clash as their trump match paid rich dividends as the scratch combine of Carsten Mogensen of Denmark and Indonesian Markis Kido fought back from a game down to get the better of Bengaluru's Malaysian pair of Hoon Thien How and Kim Wah Lim 13-15, 15-9, 15-14.

The 2-1 advantage that Hyderabad secured made it imperative that Bengaluru's Sameer Verma clinch his men's singles trump match against higher-ranked rival Parupalli Kashyap but it was not to be as the latter won 15-14, 15-13 to provide Hunters with a winning 3-0 points lead.

This made the last two matches of no consequence for the second day running, including the prime slot fifth clash between Malaysian World No 5 Lee representing Hyderabad and Indian world No 9 Srikanth of Bengaluru as well as the preceding mixed doubles match.

Bengaluru's Ashwini Ponnappa and lanky Danish partner Joachim Fischer Nielsen defeated her regular women's doubles partner Jwala Gutta and Kido 15-13 15-13 to make the points score 3-1.

Finally, it was left to Srikanth to salvage some pride and he did it in great style by outsmarting Lee 15-12, 6-15, 15-7. "I'm very happy to beat Lee. It's always great to beat someone who is that good," said Srikanth, who punched the court in glee after smashing his way to a memorable win in the last game in which he cantered home with a series of telling smashes after taking an early 7-2 lead.

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