Bengaluru Raptors storm into final

Bengaluru Raptors storm into final

Bengaluru’s Kidambi Srikanth in action against Wan Ho Son of Warriors on Friday. DH Photo/ Srikanta Sharma R

In-form singles specialists B Sai Praneeth and Kidambi Srikanth delivered outstanding performances as Bengaluru Raptors rallied to beat Awadhe Warriors 4-2 and march into the final of the Premier Badminton League here on Friday.

Taking the court after Christiansen Mathias and Ashwini Ponnappa put Warriors 2-0 ahead with a polished 15-10, 15-7 win over Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith, Praneeth got Raptors on board with a dominating 15-9, 15-4 defeat of South Korean Lee Dong Keun to send the decibel levels soaring at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium.

Srikanth, in irrepressible form with six wins from as many games, extended his unbeaten streak after outplaying Wan Ho Son 15-7, 15-10 to level the scores 2-2. The men’s doubles pairing of Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan then delivered the knockout punch on Warriors, pipping Lee Yang and Mathias 15-14, 15-9 in a tense affair. It was Raptors’ trump game, earning them two points and the victory.

World No 8 Srikanth had vanquished all comers quite comfortably in his earlier games but he faced a real challenge in Son, the South Korean ranked three places above him and holding a marginally superior 5-4 head to head record.

Srikanth came out all guns blazing in the opening game to instantly put Son on the back foot.

Hardly allowing Son to settle down, Srikanth surged to a 10-4 lead and then comfortably wrapped up the opening game.

Son struggled to gain any sort of rhythm in the second too as Srikanth continued to toy with him. The Indian produced some rip-roaring smashes which Son had no clue about. Within a few minutes, Srikanth jumped to an 8-2 lead and the writing was on the wall for Son. The South Korean then went for broke at that stage but Srikanth, after a minor wobble, took control of the situation to post a resounding win.

Ahsan and Setiawan rode on that momentum to seal Raptors’ place in Sunday’s final.

Results: Bengaluru Raptors bt Awadhe Warriors 4-2 (Marcus Ellis/ Lauren Smith lt to Christiansen Mathias/ Ashwini Ponnappa (T) 10-15, 7-15; B Sai Praneeth bt Lee Dong Keun 15-9, 15-4; Kidambi Srikanth bt Wan Ho Son 15-7, 15-10; Mohammad Ahsan/ Hendra Setiawan (T) bt Lee Yang/ Christensen Mathias 15-14, 15-9).

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