The Krrish Delhi Smashers crashed the party at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium here on Sunday, and forced the Banga Beats to call a premature end to its IBL festivities.
The Banga Beats now has nearly no chance of making the cut for the semifinals, while Delhi arrived in the city with nothing but pride to play for. The home team began with a resounding victory for P. Kashyap, but the night went downhill from there. Kashyap eased past Sai Praneeth with a 21-15, 21-11 scoreline in the first match to give his team the perfect start.
Bangalore’s icon player held a comfortable lead nearly throughout the match, as his opponent appeared frazzled by the fracas which preceded his match. Praneeth did well to stay afloat at 6-7 in the first game, but soon withered away.
Carolina Marin and Nichaon Jindapon provided a spectacular fare in the women’s singles.
Both players twisted and turned on the court to pull off some impossible retrieves, but it was Nichaon who proved more malleable. In a close deciding game, Nichaon dazzled and frustrated in equal measure.
The world no. 16 alternated between putting away tough smashes and committing careless unforced errors, to keep Carolina in the hunt. On match point at 10-9, Carolina offered Nichaon an easy smash, and this time, the Thai closed out the point to bring Delhi level.
Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Hoeng gave Delhi a crucial 2-1 lead by winning the men's doubles fixture. The Malaysian pair, ranked four in the world, showed why a proven combination is more effective than a relatively untested team of two individual talents. With better communication, which sometimes came through even without a verbal exchange, the duo put it across Carston Mogensen and Akshay Dewalker (doubles specialists both) in three games.
Arvind Bhat, rushed in to take Hu Yun's spot for the Banga Beats, did stretch his favoured opponent, H.S. Pranoy. The 34-year-old Bhat built momentum to win with the second game, but soon ran out of steam.
The Banga Beats will end its campaign on Tuesday against a strong Hyderabad Hotshots unit. Even if the team scores a victory there, it will need a miracle to finish in the top-four.
Earlier, perturbed by a last-minute change in the Banga Beats’ line-up, the Krrish Delhi Smashers refused to take the court, before a settlement was reached.
The visitors were miffed about reserve player Jan Jorgensen’s inclusion as the second men’s singles player. After a heated dispute — both in the playing arena and behind closed doors — Jorgensen was replaced by Arvind Bhat, on the ruling of the IBL governing body.
The tie started half-an-hour late.
The results: Krrish Delhi Smashers bt Banga Beats 3-1 (Sai Praneeth lost to P. Kashyap 15-21, 11-21; Nichaon Jindapon bt Carolina Marin 17-21, 21-15, 11-9; Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Hoeng bt Carston Mogensen and Akshay Dewalker 21-11, 20-21, 11-7; H.S. Pranoy bt Arvind Bhat 21-18, 7-21,11-8).