Zee Media Bureau/Suyash Srivastava
Mumbai: Saina Nehwal once again inspired players of her team as Hyderabad Hotshots defeated Awadhe Warriors 3-1 in the final of the Indian Badminton League at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Mumbai.
Ajay Jayaram, one of the pillars for Hyderabad in the tournament, made a spectacular comeback in his men’s singles match against Guru Sai Dutt to help his team win the best-of-five tie.
Ajay Jayaram was the favourite ahead of the match but Guru Sai Dutt stunned everybody by winning the first game and then dominating for the most part of the second, before Jayaram bounced back to win the second game. Guru was leading 16-12 in the second game and Jayaram found it difficult to find his rhythm, but one he did, it was he who dominated in the 10-21, 21-17, 11-7 win.
Earlier in the day, Saina Nehwal once again thrashed PV Sindhu, icon player of Awadhe Warriors 21-15, 21-7, for the second time in the tournament.
Sindhu wasn`t quick enough on the court and Saina made full use of it by targeting the former’s backhand and creating opportunities for smashes.
Saina kept her unbeaten record in the tournament intact and won her seventh successive match. With this victory, Saina levelled the tie 1-1 for Hyderabad.
Earlier, in the first men’s singles match, K Srikanth put up a brave fight against S Tanongsak to win 21-12, 21-20.
Tanongsak had been unbeaten in the tournament but Srikanth came up trumps with an aggressive play. Tanongsak looked clueless in the second game and trailed 5-13 at one stage. Srikanth then lost focus with Tanongsak catching up. Towards the end both the players had a game point each and Srikanth sealed the match with a cross court smash.
It was a major upset for Hyderabad as Awadhe Warriors took a 1-0 lead against them.
After Saina’s match Hyderabad Hotshots’ men’s doubles pair of Shem Goh and Khim Wah Lim defeated Awadhe’s Mathias Boe and Markis Kido 21-14 13-21 11-4.
The men’s doubles match proved to be the turning point of the tie as Boe and Kido were the favourite to win the match but that was not to be and they gave Hyderabad a lead of 2-1 after which Jayaram finished off things in style.
Saina thanked the crowd and credited them for her success in the tournament saying even she hadn’t expected to win against Awadhe Warriors as they had all the top players.
He (Major Dhyan Chand) is inspiration personified. He became synonymous with hockey. He became the parameter of hockey by which other player's calibre is measured.
Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal