Hyderabad Hunters emerge champions

Hyderabad Hunters emerge champions

Hyderabad Hunters emerge champions

Hyderabad Hunters overcame a fighting Bengaluru Blasters 4-3 in a thrilling summit clash to claim their maiden title at the third Premier Badminton League (PBL) here on Sunday.

Mixed Doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Pia Bernadet put up a dominant display in the last match of the encounter to clinch the the title and the winners' prize purse for the Hunters. Cheered on by a packed house and a vociferous team at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium, Satwik and Pia beat Kim Sa Rang (Korea) and N Sikki Reddy (India) 15-11, 15-12.

The five-match duel turned out to be a pulsating affair with the Blasters' World No 1 Viktor Axelsen and the Hunters' Olympic champion Carolina Marin winning their respective matches to make it 3-3 after the first four matches.

The Hunters began on the back foot, with their men's doubles pair of Markis Kido and Yoo Yeon Seong failing to get into their groove and losing 0-2.

The Hunters came back into the tie strongly, with their Trump player Lee Hyun Il coming up with a near immaculate game. The Korean was calm personified, dictating the pace and tone of the match to beat Subhanker Dey 2-0.

Axelsen then demolished Sai Praneeth to win his Trump match 15-5, 15-10 and give his side a slight edge.

The Blasters were 2-1 (3-2) on points at the midway stage. But former World No 1 Marin regained the initiative for the Hunters, winning the women's singles match against Kirsty Gilmour 15-8, 15-14.