P. Kashyap weathered a storm to pip an energetic K. Srikanth, in a 54-minute action-packed thriller, to guide Banga Beats to its first win in the Vodafone Indian Badminton League (IBL) at the BBD Academy complex here on Sunday. Banga Beats beat host Awadhe Warriors 4-1.
After five ties, this was the first fixture in the IBL which was decided before the last mixed doubles match. In the crucial second men’s singles encounter, an aggressive Srikanth, ranked 38th in the world, made a rocking start against the 14th-ranked Kashyap. Srikanth played some spectacular smashes aided with extraordinary placement.
Stretched to the limit
Despite being stretched to the limit, Kashyap levelled at 20-20 before a close line call decided the game. Both players claimed the point, but the umpire awarded it to Srikanth.
Kashyap, however, made a fine comeback, playing his natural game to equalise in the next game.
He made the most of Srikanth’s unforced errors and exulted after unleashing a stunning smash to record his first win of the competition.
Hu Yun thwarted Chong Weng Fei’s massive effort of a fightback in the second game and won the first men’s singles in sensational fashion.
The World No. 8 from Hong Kong stayed in control as Chong committed errors. After taking the first game comfortably, Yun’s unforced errors landed him in deep trouble. The Malaysian opened a gap of four points to lead 14-10.
But Hun, who played some outstanding rallies studded with variations, remained hot on the trail of Fei.
At 20-20, the two were engaged in another gripping rally before Fei hit it long.
Pumped up by the vociferous Banga Beats supporters, who had travelled all the way from Bangalore, 19th-ranked Spanish girl Carolina Marin upset World championship bronze medallist P.V. Sindhu 21-16, 21-13.
Carolina, a quarterfinalist at the Worlds, played a superb game at the net coupled with well-placed shots, especially the deceptive drop-shots, to outfox Sindhu.
World No. 10 Sindhu’s woes only compounded due to her unforced errors as Carolina hit winner after winner.
“I had heard about the fiery moves of Sindhu. I had to play a different game to beat her. I was initially nervous, but gained confidence by the end of the first game,” said Carolina.
The inconsequential mixed doubles match went in favour of Banga Beats.
Banga Beats bt Awadhe Warriors 4-1 (Hu Yun bt Chong Wei Fei 21-11, 21-20; Carolina Marin bt P.V. Sindhu 21-16, 21-13; Carsten Mogensen & Akshay Dewalkar lost to Mathias Boe & Markis Kido 14-21, 19-21; P. Kashyap bt K. Srikanth 20-21, 21-11, 21-9; Carsten Mogensen & Carolina Marin bt Markis Kido & K. Maneesha 20-21, 21-16, 11-8).