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NE Warriors edge past Chennai Superstarz to take top spot in PBL
Hyderabad, February 4, 2020
North Eastern Warriors edged past Chennai Superstarz 4-3 to grab the top spot in an exciting face-off between two of the most in-form teams in the Star Sports Premier Badminton League at the GMC Balayogi Indoor Stadium here in Hyderabad today.
With both having qualified for the semi-finals, it was the final league match for both as they looked to boost their confidence ahead of the knock-out stages.
With the two teams being tied on 22 points, North Eastern Warriors inched ahead by virtue of having 13 wins while Chennai has 10 wins against their name.
For the Warriors, 2020 Indonesia Masters semi-finalist Lee Cheul Yiu, Kaushal Dharmamer, and the mixed doubles pair of Lee Yong Dae and Kim Ha Na contributed the wins to take them to victory.
With the two locked at 3-3 in the overall score, it was left to the former Olympic champion Lee Yong Dae to do the needful for the North Eastern Warriors along with former World No. 1 Kim Ha Na. The two did not disappoint as they came back from 4-6 down in the first game to grab a 15-11, 15-9 win against Chennai’s Dhruv Kapila and PBL5 debutante Sanjana Santosh.
Earlier, the in-form Lee Cheuk Yiu won his third match in a row when he beat the youngest player of PBL5, S. Sankar Muthusamy 15-8, 15-11. The 16-year-old did impress with his shotmaking skills but Lee’s experience and confidence proved too much for the teen, who definitely has a bright future ahead of him. Lee’s win being a Trump victory put the Warriors on course for a victory.
World No. 127 Kaushal Dharmamer, winner of the Maldives International Challenge and the Myanmar International Series last year, ran away to a commanding 15-3, 15-11 win against Korea Junior Open semi-finalist K. Sathish Kumar to give a good start to the Guwahati-based franchise.
Chennai was able to grab a couple of wins in this enthralling encounter. World No. 30 Kirsty Gilmour was sharp in her face-off with the fast-rising South Asian Games gold medallist Ashmita Chaliha, who put up a good account of herself in their first-ever meeting. Chaliha, who is touted to be one of India’s best talents from the next generation, remained on par with the Scot before the Chennai Trump was able to raise her game to finish off with a 15-12, 15-11 win.
In the absence of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, who was rested ahead of the semi-finals, Dhruv Kapila teamed up with former national champion Sumeeth Reddy, and their partnership worked wonders. Oozing grit and determination, they ground out a 15-13, 15-14 win over the North Eastern pair of Bodin Isara and Krishna Prasad Garaga.