Chennai Smashers were crowned the champions of the Premier Badminton League 2017 after beating Mumbai Rockets 4-3 in a thrilling contest that saw the final match between Ajay Jayaram and Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk being the decider at Siri Fort Indoor Stadium on Saturday.
It was the second time in two seasons of the tournament that the Mumbai Rockets failed at the final hurdle — they lost to Delhi in the 2016 season.
The first match of the tie, Chennai’s trump match, was the mixed doubles where the Adcock couple, Chris and Gabrielle Adcock, took on Mumbai Rockets’ Nipithphon Phuangphuapet and Nadiezda Zieba. The Adcocks proved too hard for the Mumbai pair and won the match 11-9, 11-6 taking the tie score to 2-0 in favour of Chennai Smashers.
Next up was the crucial and much-talked about clash between PV Sindhu and Mumbai’s Sung Ji Hyun, who had dished out a superlative comeback against Carolina Marin on Friday. Sindhu took the first point of the game after a fabulous opening rally of 29 shots. After much tussle between the two, Sindhu played her attacking self and dominantly won the set 11-8. The second set saw the game playing in a similar fashion with both the players playing long rallies and making each other run for each point. A similar set ended with the same result — Sindhu winning 11-8, thus, taking the tie score to a formidable 3-0.
The third game — Mumbai’s trump — was the men’s doubles with Mumbai’s trump pair Nipithphon Phuangphuapet and Lee Yong Dae up against Chris Adcock and Mads Peiler Kolding. The trump pair put up a strong display and despite a good fight from the Chennai pair won the game 12-10, 11-6 and brought Mumbai right back into the tie as they took the score to 3-2.
The much crucial fourth game was between the Indians Parupalli Kashyap from Chennai and HS Prannoy from Mumbai Rockets. The Mumbai man, with his dominant performance and right mix of shots, sailed past Kashyap
11-4 in the first set. The second set was a closer battle as Kashyap improved and took the game 11-8. Prannoy showed excellent passion and strength in the final set and despite Kashyap’s diving efforts, took the set 11-8 thus, levelling the tie score 3-3 and taking the tie to the final match.
It all went down to the decider and final match between Mumbai’s Ajay Jayaram and Chennai Smashers’ Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk. Jayaram began the match confidently and made the Thai shuttler run across the court and smashed his way to winning the first game 11-9. Tanongsak came back much stronger in the second game — his aggression and intensity made Jayaram struggle with his length — and won the set 11-7, taking the tie to the very last game.
In the decider set, Tanongsak continued his aggressive play — forcing Jayaram to make errors — and went into the break with a lead of 6-3. It was an all Tanongsak show post the break as he never let Jayaram come back in the game and won the set 11-3, thus crowning Chennai Smashers the winner of PBL season 2.