After their straight win in the semi-finals, Hyderabad Hunters were the favorites to win the PBL 2018 title. On the other Bengaluru Blasters would be looking to avenge their comprehensive league match defeat against the Hunters 6-(-1). Viktor Axelsen led the Blasters, while the former women’s singles No. 1 Carolina Marin spearheaded the Hunters’ challenge.
Date: Jan 14, 2018
The final started with the men’s doubles pair of Rang / Boe winning the first match easily to set the tone of the Finals. They were very consistent and easily won their net points and rallies. This was followed by the singles matches of Lee Hyun against Subhnakar Dey whihc was the Trump match for the Hunters. All the singles matches had predictable outcomes with the both Hunters and Blasters winning their trump matches without troubling the scores much.
The women’s singles (Marin v/s Gilmour) was always going to be in favor of the Spaniard and she didn’t disappoint her fans, wining the first games easily 15-8. In the second Gilmour showed some resolve and played some attacking shots and excellent net plays to maintain the scores point by point. With the score reading at 14-14, it was a close game but ultimately the deciding point was won by Marin off a smashing shot.
So the championship rested on the Mixed Doubles match between Rankireddy / Bernadeth of the Hunters v/s Rang / Reddy for the Blasters. The combination of Rankireddy and the more experienced Bernadeth played out beautifully. Rankireddy and Zebadiah erased the Bengaluru Blasters’ early lead in the second game of the mixed doubles clash to register a 15-11, 15-12 win that sealed the Hunters’ narrow 4-3 win and the way Rankireddy rose to the occasion, he gained some new admirers.
|Markis Kido / Yoo Seong
|Kim Sa-rang / Mathias Boe
|Lee Hyun-iI (T)
|Viktor Axelson (T)
|Pia Bernadeth / Sai Raj
|Sikki Reddy / Kim Sa-rang
WS =Women’s Singles; MS = Men’s Singles; XD = Mixed Doubles; WD = Women’s Doubles; MD = Men’s Doubles
(T)– Trump Match
Hyderabad Hunters win 4 – 3 against Bengaluru Blasters and lift their maiden PBL 2018 Trophy
Marin, who was the captain of the Hunters, heaped lavish praise on her younger teammate , Sai Raj in the post-match press conference. Marin was impressed with how the Indian teen controlled the overwhelming pressure of playing and delivering the win in front of Hyderabad’s roaring fans at the Gachibowli Stadium. “Satwik is the find of the Hyderabad Hunters because he was a little bit nervous in the semi-finals but today wow! he did really good” – Marin
“We expected to play some tough matches because of course it was a final. Everyone had a little bit of pressure because everyone wanted to win like me. But finally we could finish in a good way, so we are really happy,” signed off the reigning European champion.
In the end Hyderabad Hunters were the deserving team to lift the PBL 2018 Championship.
*Content curated from sportskeeda.com