Chennai, January 5: North Eastern Warriors kept their hopes alive in the Premier Badminton League (PBL), beating the formidable Bengaluru Blasters 3-2 in the opening match of the Chennai leg at the Nehru Indoor Stadium on Friday (January 5).
The Warriors took an unbeatable 3-0 lead after three matches.
It was the first win for the Warriors in this year's League, having lost its previous three matches. The team from the NorthEast won their trump match and also pulled off a victory in Bengaluru's trump match.
Canadian Michelle Li did the star turn for the Warriors, by turning the tables on Kirsty Gilmour after losing the first game to post a 7-15, 15-14, 15-13 win in the team's trump match.
In the third match of the tie, Li bounced back after losing the first game rather tamely at 7-15 to Kirsty Gilmour by winning the second 15-14.
Li, currently ranked 21, got the better of her higher-rated rival, by pulling off some impressive drops and capitalising on Gilmour's errors at crucial junctures.
Earlier, Bengaluru Blasters got off to a winning start when their doubles team of Boe Mathias and Kim Sa Rang beat Kim Gi Jung and Shin Baek Chol 15-12, 7-15, 15-12.
India's Ajay Jayaram then hit back for the Warriors, hammering Malaysian shuttler Chong Wei Feng 15-8, 15-13 in what was the Blaster's trump match.
Chong Wei Feng, who came into the match at the back of a win against World No 15 Vincent, was entrusted with playing the Blasters' trump match against Jayaram.
However, he could not continue his winning momentum as he lost out to the Indian in straight games 15-8 15-13. Chong Wei Feng couldn't cope with Jayaram's impressive defense and impeccable net play and committed a series of unforced errors on his forehand to give away the first game 15-8 in a fairly easy manner.
Bengaluru Blasters won the other two matches of the day, ending the tie 2-3.
In the fifth match of the day, which was the mixed doubles, Sikki Reddy and Manu Attri proved their mettle by pulling off a 12-15, 15-8, 15-9 win over Prajakta Sawant and Shin Baek Cheol.
Performance of a champion!— PBL India (@PBLIndiaLive) January 5, 2018
Viktor Axelsen was made to stretch in an intense battle by Tzu Wei Wang, but the world number one came out on top giving the Blasters a much needed point.#BLRvNEW #VodafonePBL #SmashTheHouseDown pic.twitter.com/lLTXSEe5ur
World No 1 and Bengaluru Blasters star Viktor Axelsen continued his good form and notched up a 9-15, 15-13, 15-14 win over Tzu Wei Wang of North Eastern Warriors.