Premier Badminton League: Sameer Verma stars as Mumbai Rockets beat Delhi Dashers

December 26, 2017

BadmintonPremier Badminton League


Sameer Verma upset Delhi Dashers’ Wong Wing Ki Vincent in the men’s singles match to lead Mumbai Rockets to a 4-1 win in the Premier Badminton League on Monday.

Sameer Verma shone for Mumbai Rockets in their first tie of the third season of Premier Badminton League (PBL) as they beat Delhi Dashers by a convincing 4-1 margin at the Karmabir Nabin Chandra Bordoloi Indoor Stadium in Guwahati on Monday.

Mumbai Rockets were the finalists in the previous edition of the tournament and lost to Chennai Smashers.

Sameer Verma threw Delhi into troubled waters as he thumped Wong Wing Ki Vincent 15-11, 15-12 in what was the Trump match for the capital outfit.

With the loss in their Trump match, Delhi lost a point even when they had not opened their account.

Lee Yong Dae and Boon Heong Tan gave Mumbai Rockets a brilliant start to the tie after they came from behind to beat Delhi’s Ivan Sozonov and Vladimir Ivanov 14-15, 15-14, 15-10 in men’s doubles to put Mumbai 1-0 up.

Lee Yong Dae, an Olympic gold-medallist, brought all his experience to the fore to down the Delhi team after the latter had a great start to the day.

Delhi only went downhill post that as Sameer Verma pulled off an upset in a match that Delhi had placed their bet.

In a dominating performance, the Indian put his strong, aggressive and all-round play to the front and put his team 2-(-1) up in the tie.

World No.6 Sung Ji Hyun then brought Delhi back into contention with her come from behind victory against world No.11 Beiwen Zhang.

Delhi were on the verge of losing the tie within the first three matches when Sung Ji dropped the first game 12-15 but the Korean upped her game from there to eke out a close 15-14 win in the second game of the match.

Sung Ji brought her A game in the decider to beat Zhang 15-9 and close down the tie gap to 2-0.

Thereafter, the fancied world No.5 Son Wan Ho took on world No.22 Tian Houwei in the men’s singles tie but Houwei pulled the cat out of the bag with a major upset.

In what turned out to be the third come from behind win of this thrilling tie, Houwei beat Son Wan Ho 13-15, 15-13, 15-9 to give a sniffing chance of coming out victorious.

Houwei negated Son Wan’s defensive mastery with his all-round game and patience that helped Delhi back in the tie.

The result of the tie eventually depended on the final match, which was also Mumbai’s Trump match.

Delhi’s star attraction Ashwini Ponappa opted out of the tie as she has recently got married and asked for team manager’s allowance of joining the team in the Delhi leg of the tournament.

With Ponappa not a part of the tie, Delhi’s mixed doubles pair was Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Arathi Sara Sunil.

The Indian pair was up against Lee Yong Dae and Gabriela Stoeva, who were clearly the favourites for the match.

Pranaav and Arathi fought valiantly but as Lee Yong Dae had proved earlier in the day, his experience was of immense value.

Despite putting up a good fought, Delhi lost 11-15, 9-15 in the final match to eventually lose the tie 4-1.

In the final match of the tournament at Guwahati, North Eastern Warriors will take on Ahmedabad Smash Masters on Tuesday.

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