After the Mumbai-leg, on January 3 & 4, the 2017 PBL arrived in the home of Saina Nehwal’s Awadhe Warriors at Lucknow. On January 5, Awadhe scored their second consecutive victory by destroying defending champions Delhi Acers in the same way they had done against Hyderabad Hunters, 3 days ago. They lost to Mumbai Rockets 3-4 on January 6 but by winning all their Trump matches so far, they lead everyone in overall standings with 14 points. Mumbai Rockets haven’t lost any of their three ties but suffered a defeat in a Trump match. That has brought them to the second spot with 12 points. Chennai Smashers have played two ties and despite narrowly losing to Hyderabad on the opening day, they are on third spot with 8 points. But defending champions Delhi Acers have run into problems by losing two Trump matches and lie at the bottom with just 1 point. Like Delhi, Hyderabad Hunters have also lost two Trump matches and they are fourth in the reckoning with 5 points. Bengaluru Blasters haven’t fared well either and they are fifth with 4 points.
In the second leg at Mumbai on January 5, Chennai Smashers handed a 5-0 defeat to Bengaluru Blasters. The worst for Bengaluru was they lost in both Trump matches including their own. After Chennai’s Parupalli Kashyap beat Sourabh Varma 11-8, 11-5, PV Sindhu defeated Cheung Ngan Yi 12-10, 11-6 in Chennai’s Trump match. In the thrilling mixed doubles, the Chennai pair of Chris and Gaby Adcock edged out Bengaluru’s Ashwini Ponnappa/Yoo Yeon Seong 11-6, 8-11, 15-14. Then Bengaluru lost their Trump match, when Chennai’s men’s doubles pair of Chris Adcock/Mads Pieler Kolding defeated Bengaluru’s Ko Sung-Hyun/Yoo Yeon Seong 11-7, 7-11, 13-11. The only consolation for Bengaluru was the victory of BWF World-Series Finals winner Viktor Axelsen, who defeated Chennai’s Tommy Sugiarto 11-7, 13-11.
In the next tie between hosts Mumbai Rockets and Delhi Acers, Mumbai played dominantly. The men’s singles was Delhi’s Trump match but Rockets’ Ajay Jayaram unsettled Jan O Jorgensen 15-14, 11-4. In the next men’s singles, Mumbai’s HS Prannoy defeated Delhi’s Son Wan Ho 11-9, 11-9. In mixed doubles, Mumbai’s Lee Yong Dae/Nadiezda Zieba defeated Delhi’s Ivan Sozonov/Maneesha 11-5, 8-11, 11-9. In Mumbai’s women’s singles Trump match, Sung Ji Hyun outplayed Delhi’s Tanvi Lad 11-6, 11-8 and in the last men’s doubles match, the Mumbai pair of Lee Yong Dae/Nipithphon Phuangphuapet defeated Delhi’s Ivan Sozonov/Vladimir Ivanov 11-9, 11-9.
On January 4, there was just one match played, in which Mumbai Rockets continued their winning momentum by defeating Hyderabad Hunters 2-1 in an enthralling encounter. In men’s doubles, Mumbai’s Lee Yong Dae/Nipithphon Phuangphuapet beat the Delhi combo of Tan Boon Heong/Tan Wee Kiong 11-9, 11-5. In the next women’s singles match, Mumbai’s Sung Ji Hyun shocked world and Olympic champion Carolina Marin with an 11-7, 7-11, 14-12 victory. Hyderabad scored their first win of the day, when Rajiv Ouseph defeated Mumbai’s Ajay Jayaram 11-7, 11-8. However, Mumbai lost their Trump mixed doubles match, when the Hyderabad pair of Satwik Sai Raj/Chau Hoi Wah beat Mumbai’s Lee Yong Dae/Nadiezda Zieba 11-13, 12-10, 15-14 in an edge-of-the-seat thriller. However, Hyderabad lost their men’s singles Trump match, when Mumbai’s HS Prannoy defeated Hyderabad’s Sameer Varma 11-6, 11-7. In the end, it was a narrow 2-1 win for Mumbai.
When the PBL scene shifted to Lucknow on January 5, the first match saw the home side Awadhe Warriors handing last year champion Delhi Acers their worst defeat in PBL so far. After Awadhe’s men’s doubles pair of Goh W Shem/Markis Kido defeated Delhi’s Akshay Dewalkar/Vladimir Ivanov 11-4, 11-4, Awadhe’s Saina Nehwal defeated Nitchaon Jindapon 14-12, 11-7 in Awadhe’s Trump match. Awadhe’s winning run continued with Kidambi Srikanth beating Jan O Jorgensen 11-9, 11-13, 11-9 in men’s singles; Savitree Amitrapai/Bodin Isara beating Jwala Gutta/Vladimir Ivanov 12-10, 11-5 in mixed doubles and in Delhi Acers Trump men’s singles match, Awadhe’s Vincent Wong Wing Ki defeated Son Wan Ho 11-8, 11-6.
On January 6, however, Awadhe lost their tie 3-4 to Mumbai Rockets. In the opening men’s doubles, Mumbai’s Lee Yong Dae/Nipithphon Phuangphuapet defeated Awadhe’s Goh W Shem/Markis Kido 7-11, 11-3, 11-13. In men’s singles next, Mumbai’s Ajay Jayaram shocked Kidambi Srikanth with a 5-11, 15-14, 11-5 win. However in women’s singles, Awadhe’s Saina Nehwal defeated Mumbai woman Sung Ji Hyun 12-10, 4-11, 11-5. Mumbai won their men’s singles Trump match with HS Prannoy beating Awadhe’s Vincent Wong Wing Ki 14-12, 9-11, 11-8. The last game was Awadhe’s mixed doubles Trump match and the pair of Savitree Amitrapai/Bodin Isara defeated Mumbai’s Nipithphon Phuangphuapet/Nadiezda Zieba 11-8, 11-4.
Now the teams travel to Bengaluru for their next league games during January 7-11 before going to Delhi for the last league tie between Delhi Acers and Hyderabad Hunter, whereupon it will be time for the semifinals. The final will be played on January 14.
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