SPORT

PSPB prevails over Air India

Memorable day:PSPB, winner of the Central Zone badminton tournament.

Memorable day:PSPB, winner of the Central Zone badminton tournament.  

A star-studded Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB) overcame stiff resistance from Air India to clinch the team title of the Central Zone inter-State badminton tournament at the Dadoji Konddev Stadium in Thane on Wednesday.

With World No. 18 H.S. Prannoy being joined by the likes of Rituparna Das and Pranav Chopra, who flew in after returning from a decent outing in the World Championship in Glasgow last week, PSPB was expected to run over Air India.

However, the airmen stretched the favourites before succumbing in the deciding mixed doubles tie.

Ideal beginning

Mithun Manjunath began on an ideal note for Air India, surprising World No. 32 Sourabh Verma in 56 minutes.

Rituparna then broke little sweat while defeating Shikha Gautam to level the tie.

Prannoy and doubles specialist Chopra then combined well to beat Dhruv Kapila and Sanyam Shukla in straight games to give PSPB the lead.

Stunning win

However, Rituparna and the seasoned Aparna Balan were stunned by Air India’s Prajakta Sawant and Sanyogita Ghorpade.

The Thane-Pune combine rolled over Rituparna and Aparna in just 25 minutes. Sawant couldn’t repeat the magic in mixed doubles as she and Shukla went down fighting to Chopra and Aparna in 45 minutes.

The triumph ensured PSPB a direct entry in the team championship for the National championship.

The results (final):

Petroleum Sports Promotion Board bt Air India 3-2 (Sourabh Verma lost to Mithun Manjunath 18-21, 21-11, 7-21; Rituparna Das bt Shikha Gautam 21-16, 21-8; H.S. Prannoy & Pranav Chopra bt Dhruv Kapila & Sanyam Shukla 21-15, 21-18.

Aparna Balan & Rituparna Das lost to Prajakta Sawant & Sanyogita Ghorpade 15-21, 10-21; Aparna Balan & Pranav Chopra bt Prajakta Sawant & Sanyam Shukla 23-21, 21-19).

The star-studded PSPB was expected to overpower Air India, but the latter put up a spirited fight

Mithun surprised Sourabh Verma in the opening encounter

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