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) at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium in Hyderabad on Sunday. The Blasters defeated favourites Ahmedabad Smash Masters in the second semifinal of the league while the Hunters thrashed Delhi Dashers 3-0 in their semifinal outing on Friday. The last time the two sides met, the Hunters, who enjoyed the crowd backing, crushed the Blasters with a clean sweep. The key player for the Blasters was reigning world champion Viktor Axelsen, who beat Bengaluru’s Sai Praneeth in the trump match. The Hunters, on the other hand, put their faith in Lee Hyun Il who defeated Subhankar Dey in their trump match. The hosts also had Rio 2016 gold medallist Marin on their side. Here are the key highlights from the final match of the third season of Premier Badminton League.
Hyderabad Hunters vs Bengaluru Blasters, key updates:
2152 hrs IST: HYDERABAD HUNTERS BEAT BENGALURU BLASTERS 4-3 TO LIFT TITLE
And we have the winner! Satwik Sairaj-Pia Zibadiah win the thrilling mixed-doubles encounter against Kim Sa Rang-Sikki Reddy to help Hyderabad Hunters lift the Premier Badminton League 3 title.
2141 hrs IST: From 6-6 to 8-8, both Hyderabad and Bengaluru are fighting for every point. An intense game is underway. After all, it is winner-takes-all match.
2138 hrs IST: The game is going level at 6-6. Both the teams are giving it their all and they already look a little out of energy.
2131 hrs IST: Kim Sa Rang-Sikki Reddy win the first game 15-11. Hyderabad Hunters are not going to give up that easily. Bengaluru Blasters are just a game away from winning the league.
2125 hrs IST: Satwik Sairaj-Pia Zibadiah clash against Kim Sa Rang-Sikki Reddy in the final match of the day. Whichever side wins this match, wins the league.
2105 hrs IST: CAROLINE MARIN WINS TO EARN A POINT FOR HYDERABAD HUNTERS
The Olympic champion prevailed in the final match and beat Gilmour 15-8, 15-14 in what turned out to be a thrilling match towards the end. With the win, she has earned a crucial point for Hyderabad Hunters.
2055 hrs IST: Marin wins first game 15-8. After the initial loss of points, Marin gets in her element to turn the game in her favour. If she wins this match, then it will all come down to the mixed doubles’ match.
2049 hrs IST: Rio gold medalist Marin takes 8-4 lead in the mid-game interval. She has driven her side to victory in the past.
2045 hrs IST: Caroline Marin begins on a slow note against Kirsty Gilmour but makes up for it by taking quick points, leads Gilmour 4-3 in women’s singles.
2032 hrs IST: BENGALURU BLASTERS WIN THEIR TRUMP MATCH
Axelsen kills it with his beautiful and effortless play. The entire stadium gets up to applaud the World No. 1 after he beat Praneeth 15-8, 15-10. Praneeth stole some points towards the end but could not take down Axelsen. With the win, Bengaluru Blasters take two points and snatch back the lead from Hyderabad Hunters.
2020 hrs IST: Viktor Axelsen wins the first game 15-8 against Sai Praneeth. It looks like Bengaluru Blasters will snatch the lead back from Hyderabad Hunters. Most of the shots by Praneeth are going wide.
2016 hrs IST: The reigning World champions Axelsen starts confidently, taking lead in the beginning. He goes in the mid-game break with a five-point lead.
2012 hrs IST: It is now time for Bengaluru Blasters’ trump match between Viktor Axelsen and Sai Praneeth. This should be an exciting match.
1959 hrs IST: HYDERABAD HUNTERS WIN THEIR TRUMP MATCH
Hyun Il beats Subhankar Dey 15-7, 15-13 to win HyderabHuntersers two crucial points. It was a hard fought match but Hyun Il prevailed, sending Subhankar all over the place as the Indian could not match up to Hyun Il’s power.
1951 hrs IST: What a great rally as we reach the mid-game interval with Hyun Il in the lead. Subhankar refuses to give up and uses his flexibility to match every powerful shot by Hyun Il with equal power but loses a point at the end of what turned out to be a great rally. Hyun Il leads 8-5.
1942 hrs IST: Lee Hyun Il wins first game 15-7. Despite a slow start, Hyun Il gets in his element and wins the first game of Hyderabad Hunters’ trump match 15-7. He needs to maintain the game to win the Hunters an equaliser. The crowd looks delighted.
1932 hrs IST: Lee Hyun Il takes 8-6 lead in the mid-game break against Blasters’ Shubhankar Dey. Even though Hyun Il is the trump match of the Hunters, Shubhankar is ensuring that it is not an easy one. Will the Blasters double the lead against Hunters or will the hosts equalise?
1922 hrs IST: Hyderabad Blasters will look to equalise the score now with their trump match between Lee Hyun Il vs Subhankar Dey.
1912 hrs IST: BENGALURU BLASTERS WIN MENS DOUBLES 15-9, 15-1O
The Blasters draw the first blood. And how confidently. They had their mind set on the win from the beginning. Hyderabad Blasters could not take the lead back from Bengaluru as Kim Sa Rang-Mathias Boe won 15-9, 15-10.
1912 hrs IST: Bengaluru Blasters are in complete control of their game. It looks like they have their eyes set on the win, taking a lead at the mid-game interval in the second game 8-4.
1906 hrs IST: The Blasters look like they will draw the first blood. Kim Sa Rang-Mathias Boe take advantage of Markis Kido-Yoo Yeon Seong’s unforced errors and win the first game 15-9.
1900 hrs IST: The first match begins between Markis Kido-Yoo Yeon Seong against Kim Sa Rang-Mathias Boe, who have taken a good 10-7 lead. All eyes on the ultimate glory:
— PBL India (@PBLIndiaLive) 14 January 2018
1850 hrs IST: Hello and welcome to the live coverage of the Premier Badminton League final match between Hyderabad Hunters and Bengaluru Blasters. Here is the order of play.
Tonight, a mighty battle will take place in the #VodafonePBLFinal. The winner takes it all! 🏆
— PBL India (@PBLIndiaLive) 14 January 2018