Warriors enter semis

White Peacock lose crucial match 2-3 to bow out

Flypower Warriors’ Sindhu Bharadwaj during her win over White Peacock’s Uttara Prakash in the Karnataka Badminton League at KBA courts on Tuesday. DH PHOTO

Needing a victory to book their knockout stage ticket in the virtual quarterfinal clash, both teams went all out in a marathon slugfest before the Warriors held their nerve in sizzling style to nail the fourth and final spot at the KBA courts.

With the do-or-die rubber locked at 2-2, it was up to the men’s doubles combine of Darshan Kulkarni-Dhruv Shanbag and Sajith PV-Srinath-JR to carry their respective team’s hopes. Kulkarni and Shanbag did just that, pulling off a brilliant under-pressure 21-12, 16-21, 21-11 triumph over Sajith and Srinath as the Warriors marched into the last-four stage.

Aratt Fighters and HB Challengers, who completed their league formalities on Monday itself, signed off the league phase first and second respectively with 10 points each. Team Cane Boutique, who beat K2 Smashers 4-1 in an inconsequential match, finished third on eight points while the Warriors ended fourth on six points.

Warriors will play favourites Fighters in the first semifinal while the Challengers will take on Cane Boutique in the other last-four contest — both on Friday. The final will be held on Saturday.

Aditya Prakash gave the Peacocks a rousing start when he cruised past a listless Rameshwar Mahapatra 21-18, 21-9, the contest lasting just 17 minutes. Sindhu Bharadwaj, however, brought the Warriors right back into the contest, levelling the rubber 1-1 after running a lacklustre Uttara Prakash ragged 21-12, 21-10 in a completely lop-sided match.

The mixed doubles pair of Krishna SDS and Apeksha Nayak then produced a wonderful exhibition of badminton, flattening Praveen B and Divya 21-7, 21-3 in quick time to give the Warriors a 2-1 lead.

With the pressure entirely on his shoulders to keep the Peacocks alive, Jagdish Yadav displayed nerves of steel in a humdinger of a clash against Rajas Jawalkar. A picture of composure, Jadav handled the bigger points better, sealing an energy-sapping 23-21, 21-19  win to put the Peacocks level at 2-2. But the deciding doubles dashed their hopes.

Results: Flypower Warriors bt White Peacock 3-2 (Rameshwar Mahapatra bt Aditya Prakash 8-21, 9-21; Sindhu Bharadwaj bt Uttara Prakash 21-12, 21-10; Krishna SDS/ Apeksha Nayak bt Praveen B/ Divya 21-7, 21-3; Rajas Jawalkar lt to Jagdish Yadav 21-23, 19-21; Darshan Kulkarni/Dhruv Shanbag bt Sajith PV/ Srinath JR 21-12, 16-21, 21-11).

Team Cane Boutique bt K2 Smashers 4-1 (MohitKamat bt AbhisehkYeligar 21-17, 22-20; Mithula UK lt to Archana Pai 13-21, 21-18; Vineeth Manuel/ Harshita P bt Prateek Khurana/ Pratheeksha Ramesh 21-11, 21-18; Goutham Bhat bt Daniel S Farid 21-5, 14-21, 21-19; Sobin Soman/ Sunil Gladson bt Girish Kumar VJ/ Srinath Subhash 21-8, 21-23, 21-17).

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