The Hyderabad Hotshots thrashed Pune Pistons 4-1 in the Indian Badminton League (IBL) at the National Sports Club of India (NSCI) here Monday.
In the process, the Hotshots bagged five points (four for each match win and a bonus point) while the Pistons had to be content with only one. Hyderabad Hotshots are now leading the standing with 11 points while Pune Pistons rank second with nine.
Leading Hotshots’ charge was local lad Ajay Jayaram who easily overcame Tien Minh Nguyen of Pistons 21-19, 21-8 in the first men’s singles to give the Hyderabad-based team the lead in the tie.
Jayaram completely dominated his World No.5 opponent, who has not been in good form lately.
Next was the highly anticipated match between Hotshots icon player Saina Nehwal and Pistons’ Juliane Schenk of Germany. A lot was expected of the two as both are top-4 players of the World.
Juliane took flight and won the first game by taking a huge lead at the start. The World No.4 Saina tried coming back into the game but fell short.
However, the Hyderabadi eventually had the better of the World No.3 and the 59-minute encounter went in Saina’s favor 17-21, 21-19, 11-6 to give the Hotshots a 2-0 lead.
In the mixed doubles, Hotshots’ V. Shem Goh and Khim Wah Lim overcame veteran Indian pair K.T. Rupesh Kumar and Sanave Thomas of the Pistons 21-19, 21-16 to extend the lead to an unassailable 3-0.
In the second men’s singles, Hotshots’ Tanongsak beat spirited Pistons shuttler Saurabh Varma 21-17, 21-18 to rub salt on Pune’s wounds.
However, Pune’s icon player Ashwini Ponnappa with Joachim Fischer Nielsen beat Pradnya Gadre and Goh in straight games to win a point from the mixed doubles clash. Ashwini and Joachim won 21-11, 21-14 in 32 minutes.
The next tie will be between home team Mumbai Masters, who will take on visitors Krrish Delhi Smashers here Tuesday. Master icon player and World No.1 Lee Chong Wei is also expected to play in the tie.