Hyderabad: It was a fitting end to the Premier Badminton League (PBL) season three, that witnessed the Hyderabad Hunters clinch their maiden title, defeating the Bengaluru Blasters 4-3 in what was a thrilling contest at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium here on Sunday.
The excitement of the fans at the packed stadium reached sky-high as the clash moved into the final game, a mixed doubles clash. It was 3-3 until then but the India-Indonesian pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Indonesia’s Pia Bernadet put up a dominant display defeating the duo of Sikki Reddy and Kim Sa Rang 15-11, 15-12 to lead the Hunters to their first ever title in the competition.
Satwik especially was at his smashing best, delivering when it mattered the most and his firepower combined with Pia’s experience led the Hunters to an extraordinary win in a keenly-contested battle that went to the wire.
It was the Blasters however who had started better as the men’s doubles pair of Mathias Boe & Kim Sa Rang brushed aside Mathias Boe & Kim Sa Rang 15-9, 15-10 in a loop sided battle that began the proceedings. The Hunters however bounced back 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 15-7, 15-13 to put the home side ahead at 2-1 despite losing the opening game.
World No 1 Viktor Axelsen of the Blasters then demolished Sai Praneeth to give his side a slight edge with his Trump win. It was an authoritative performance from the Dane who blew aside the Singapore Open champion 15-5, 15-10 to make it 3-2 soon after.
But the five-match duel soon turned into a pulsating affair when Olympics gold medallist Carolina Marin brought the Hunters back into the contest defeating Kirsty Gilmour of the Blasters 15-8, 15-14 to make it 3-3, with just one game to go.
The match went into the script but the Spaniard held on to win it on straight set and reignite the final open.
Satwik then sealed the affair with a mix doubles win along with his partner Pia Bernadet and that it was his smash that earned the final point for the Hunters stood a fitting testimony as to how far the Gopichand academy and has come, ever since breaking-out as India’s best future shuttler in the doubles category.