Bangalore: Delhi Smashers defeated hosts Banga Beats 4-1 to keep their hopes of a semifinal spot alive in the Indian Badminton League (IBL) Sunday.
The victory helped the Smashers win five points and are now fourth with 13 in the standings.
In the first men’s singles rubber, Beats’ Parupalli Kashyap was in his elements against B. Sai Praneeth of the Smashers. The world No.14 won 21-15, 21-11 to make it 1-0 for the Beats.
However, the Smashers came back in style to win the next four matches to seal the extremely crucial tie.
Jindapon Nichaon of the Smashers overcame Carolina Marin 21-17, 15-21, 11-9 followed by the Malaysian pairing of Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Hoeng defeating Carsten Mogensen and Akshay Dewalkar 21-11, 20-21, 11-7 in the doubles match.
Kerala shuttler H.S. Prannoy sealed the tie for the Smashers when he defeated former national champion Arvind Bhat 21-18, 7-21, 11-8 in the second men's singles rubber.
Praneeth began well for the Smashers as he was going neck-and-neck with Kashyap in the first game. However, Kashyap fought back to grab a 14-7 lead after the second break.
The world No. 14 played some delectable smashes across the court, dismantling the confidence of Praneeth.
Having bagged the first game, Kashyap kept the match in his grip. He took a 7-2 lead over his opponent, ranked 37 in the world.
Kashyap hardly allowed Praneeth to play his game as he overpowered him with his bodyline smashes, sometimes at a speed of 251km per hour.
In the women’s singles, Jindapon was dominating as she took a 7-3 lead at the opening break in the first game. However, Marin fought her way back by taking a narrow 14-12 lead against Jindapon after the second break.
In the thrilling match that ensued, Jindapon pocketed the first game but Carolina refused to throw in the towel. The two players were 10-10 at one stage in the second game and soon the Spanish girl stretched her lead to 19-15 and forced a decider.
Carolina, though, could not continue with the momentum and allowed her rival to win and level the tie 1-1. Meanwhile, after Sachin Tendulkar enthralled the Mumbai Masters fans by turning up for star shuttler Lee Chong Wei’s match in Mumbai, it was the turn of another stalwart Rahul Dravid to root for his city franchise at Sree Kanteerava Stadium here on Sunday.
Dravid’s presence lifted the morale of Banga Beats who went into the match with a huge task of winning their last two ties with big margins to remain in the semi-finals hunt. (Agencies)