Challengers inch towards semis berth

Badminton KBL:Team Cane Boutique edge out Flypower Warriors in thriller

Determined: Team Cane Boutique’s Mahima Agarwal lunges forward for a return in her win over Flypower Warriors’ Sindhu Bharadwaj at the KBA courts on Saturday. DH PHOTO

The win took Challengers to the top of table with eight points from five matches and with just one match left to play, they are almost certain to make the cut for next week’s knock-out semifinal action.

In the other match of the day, Team Cane Boutique also strengthened their case for a semifinal spot with a 3-2 victory over Flypower Warriors. The win was Cane Boutique’s fourth of the competition and they now share the second spot with favourites Aratt Fighters on eight points.

At the KBA courts, Suraj RN set the tempo for the Challengers with a 21-7, 21-12 demolition of Lions’ Sankeerth BR before Arsheen Syeda Saadath extended the advantage to 2-0 with a crushing 21-14, 21-11 defeat of Sindhu Bharadwaj. The mixed doubles pair of Abhinand Shetty and Nitya Sosale delayed the proceedings for the Challengers by pulling one back for Li Ning Lions after coasting past the combine of Abhijeet Naimpally and Sangeetha Mari 21-15, 21-12. However, Phalgun BS doused the tension in the Challengers’camp with a spirited 21-11, 16-21, 21-8 win over Irshad Khan.

Guruprasad D and Sanjeeth then capped a fine day in the office for the Challengers, roaring past Adarsh Kumar and Venkatesh Prasad 21-16, 21-17.

 Suraj, who opened Challengers’ account for the day, was in cruise mode against a clueless Sankeerth, moving his rival around and scoring points almost at will. Suraj never surrendered the advantage in the opening game and even during instances where he lost his serve, the Challengers player was quick to bounce back, seizing the initiative right away. Sankeerth did offer some resistance in the second game, but it turned out to be just a token one as Suraj galloped to victory in about 25 minutes to lay the foundation for Challengers fine show.

Talented Mohit Kamath handed Cane Boutique the lead with a lop-sided 21-6, 21-7 defeat of Warriors’ Rameshwar Mahapatra before team-mate Mahima Agarwal made it 2-0 with a fighting 21-19, 20-22, 21-9 win over Sindhu Bharadwaj. The mixed doubles pair of Vineeth Manuel and Harshita P then wrapped up the issue for Cane Boutique with two matches left, rolling over the pair of Krishna SDS and Aswathi Satheesan 21-15, 21-19 in quick time.

Results: HB Challengers bt Li Ning Lions 4-1 (Suraj RN bt Sankeerth BR 21-7, 21-12; Arsheen Syeda Saadath bt Jamunarani 21-14, 21-11; Abhijeet Naimpally/ Sangeetha Mari lt to Abhinand Shetty/ Nitya Sosale 15-21, 12-21; Phalgun BS bt Irshad Khan 21-11, 16-21, 21-8; Guruprasad D/ Sanjeeth S bt Adarsh Kumar/ Venkatesh Prasad 21-16, 21-17).

Team Cane Boutique bt Flypower Warriors 3-2 (Mohit Kamath bt Rameshwar Mahapatra 21-6, 21-7; Mahima Agarwal bt Sindhu Bharadwaj 21-19, 20-22, 21-9; Vineeth Manuel/ Harshita P bt Krishna SDS/ Aswathi Satheesan 21-15, 21-19; Goutham Bhat lt to Rajas Jawalkar 11-21, 13-21; Sobin Soman/ Sunil Gladson lt to Darshan Kulkarni/ Dhruv Shanbag 12-21, 10-21).

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