Kidambi Srikanth. Press Trust of India file photo
Kidambi Srikanth and Saina Nehwal both suffered defeats but Awadhe Warriors rallied superbly to register a thrilling 4-3 win over Ahmedabad Smash Masters in the Premier Badminton League here on Tuesday.
Smash Masters' H S Prannoy defeated Srikanth 15-8, 15-11 while Tai Tze Ying beat Saina 15-5, 15-14. But Warriors, led by Parupalli Kashyap's win in the Trump match, stayed alive in the contest before T C Man and L Setiawan pulled off a 15-14, 15-10 verdict over L C H Reginald and Kidambi Nandagopal to seal the contest for their team in the final doubles.
Awadhe Warriors logged the first point of the tie after their mixed doubles pair Christina Pedersen and Tang Chun Man came from a game down to beat Kamilla Rytter Juhl and Law Cheuk Him 14-15, 15-12, 15-14.
Kashyap then came from behind and beat Masters' Sourabh Verma 11-15, 15-13, 15-14 to send Awadhe 3-0 ahead.
Sourabh looked in great touch in the opening game and was hardly challenged by Kashyap. Even though the Awadhe showed sparks of brilliance on few occasions, Sourabh managed to dominate the proceedings to go 1-0 in the match. Kashyap, however, clawed his way back to level the game scores and then won a thrilling third game.
Prannoy then brought Smash Masters back in the contest. Prannoy, who had beaten his country-mate to clinch his first national championship last year, looked to be in stellar form and blitzed his way to an 8-2 lead at the break. Srikanth did try to stay in the match but could not muster enough and went down meekly in the opening game.
In the second game, the Denmark Open winner tried to get going in the match but Prannoy was clearly the better player on the court and raced to the victory in a convincing manner.
In the marquee clash of the day, World No 1 Tai of Chinese Taipei got the better of World No 10 and local favourite Saina 15-5,15-14 to help Smash Masters restore parity in the tie at 3-3, this being the Trump match for her team.
Saina looked nowhere close to her best and Tai Tzu took full advantage of her sluggishness. She won the opening game in no time. Saina did try to come back in the second game and put up a strong show. However, it was not meant to be her day.
It was anybody's match at that point but the Warriors held their nerves to win the crucial men's doubles to come through triumphant.