Delhi edge Mumbai to win PBL title

Delhi edge Mumbai to win PBL title

Badminton : Ouseph defeats Gurusaidutt in trump match to clinch tie

Rajeev Ouseph’s scintillating win in the fifth and final match spurred Delhi Acers to beat Mumbai Rockets 4-3 and clinch the Premier Badminton League Trophy at the Siri Fort Sports Complex here on Sunday.

With the final going down to the wire, Ouseph churned out a composed performance to crush RMV Gurusaidutt 15-11, 15-6 in the trump match for Acers.  Before that, it was Rockets who were leading 3-2 after their Chinese import Han Li beat PC Thulasi in the trump match. It was then left to Ouseph to carry the hosts to the finishing line and he did that in style. Ouseph dominated from start to end, showing depth in his strokes and reach. Gurusaidutt began well but could not get the measure of his opponent.

“There was pressure to win the match, so it is a nice feeling to have won it. The team’s strategy to have three men’s singles players really worked. We were lucky to have the final in Delhi, the crowd supported us till the end ,” said Ouseph.

Acers’ start, however, was far from ideal. Their mixed double pairing of Akshay Dewalkar and Gabrielle Adcock could do little against the formidable showing of Rockets ’Kamilla Juhl and Vladimir Ivanov in the opening match.

But Acers’ star player Tommy Sugiarto rallied to overcome a stiff challenge from HS Prannoy 13-15, 15-9, 15-9 to bring the contest on an even keel.

In a men’s doubles match, that went to the wire and was underlined by fast, intense rallies, the experienced Malaysian pairing of Koon Keat Kien and Tan Boon Heong outlasted Mathias Boe and Vladimir Ivanov for 14-15, 15-10, 15-14 win and put Acers in 2-1 lead.

“It was an unbelievable match. We all held our nerves till the last moment,” said Koon.
But Li gave a good account of herself in an impressive 12-15, 15-8 15-8 win and pushed the tie to the fifth rubber. For Acers, Sugiarto once again played a key role and kept up his unbeaten record in the league. The Indonesian was in for a surprise with Prannoy asserting himself with outstanding smashes and good court-craft in the first game. Sugiarto, who led at the halftime of first game, in no time found himself at par with Prannoy, who cleverly mixed his shots and attacked the Indonesian’s forehand.  The Acers was a quiet camp as Prannoy took the lead following a long return from Sugiarto.

However, the Indonesian, brilliantly fought back in the second game. He forced longer rallies, and stepped up the pace to open up an 8-3 lead. Sugiarto consolidated with his characteristic fluent strokeplay to push the match into the decider. While there was no stopping Sugiarto now, Prannoy made a stream of unforced errors and a long return from the Indian sealed the game and decider for Sugiarto.