Awadhe Warriors snatched an improbable win to be in contention for a semifinal berth in the inaugural Vodafone IBL here on Saturday. The 3-2 verdict over Mumbai Masters gives it 12 points from four matches.
Mumbai Masters finished its league engagements with 15 points and will hope that both Awadhe and Banga lose one of their matches over the next three days. Banga Beats now will have to win both matches to pip Mumbai to the semis.
Ivanov gave Mumbai a fitting start outhitting Gurusaidutt with some steep smashes. Gurusaidutt managed to level scores by winning the second game.
In the decider, Gurusaidutt took the early initiative, but once Ivanov levelled at six-all, there was no looking back. Aided by a couple of errors from Gurusaidutt, Ivanov wrapped up the match 11-9 after a disputable line call went against him in the previous rally.
Sindhu played with a lot more confidence this time. She wore out Tine Baun early on and capitalised on some easy points at the net.
Though Tine had her chances, she, time and again, played into Sindhu’s hands.
Trading a game each, the match looked tightly poised, but two long tosses and a deft placement by Sindhu took the game away from Masters.
With the match tied at 1-1, the Warriors had to take the initiative in the men’s doubles, and that’s precisely what the duo of Markis Kido and Mathias Boe did.
The left-right combination cruised through the first game winning 21-16 and was well on its way to a comfortable win when the Mumbai duo of B. Sumeet Reddy and Manu Attre made a brief, valiant comeback. But the challenge ended there.
Srikanth tests Lee Chong
The much-awaited second men’s singles match between World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei of Masters and Awadhe’s promising Indian talent K. Srikanth went to three games.
After an early flourish, Srikanth just could not match the Malaysian’s court craft and committed far too many mistakes.
Srikanth’s jabs at the net and some quick counters did win him praise and points, converting a gap of 9-14 into a 15-14 advantage in the second game.
He stretched the lead to 18-15 and then survived a match point before clinching a thriller at 21-20.
In the deciding game, Lee Chong was faster and superior at the net, and raced away to a 7-1 and 9-3 lead. He clinched the match at 11-5.
The deciding mixed doubles was an evenly contested one, though the Indonesian pairing of Markis Kido and Pia Bernadel of Awadhe Warriors proved a little too hot for Vladmir Ivanov and Sikki Reddy, winning 21-19, 21-15.
The results: Awadhe Warriors bt Mumbai Masters 3-2 (R.M.V. Gurusaidutt lost to Vladimir Ivanov 18-21, 21-20, 8-11; P.V. Sindhu bt Tine Baun 21-12, 19-21, 11-8; Markis Kido & Mathias Boe bt B. Sumeet Reddy & Manu Attri 21-16, 21-14; K. Srikanth lost to Lee Chong Wei 15-21, 21-20, 5-11; Markis Kido & Pia Bernadet bt Vladimir Ivanov & Sikki Reddy 21-19, 21-15).