Perfect start to IBL as Pune beat Delhi in a thriller

sourabh varmaNew Delhi: Living up to the expectations, Indian Badminton League got off to a flying start as Ashwini Ponnappa and Joachim Fischer Nielsen  registered a scintillating win over Jwala Gutta and Kien Keat Koo to give Pune Pistons a 3-2 victory against hosts Delhi Smashers in the first match of the inaugural edition of Indian Badminton League (IBL) at the Siri Fort Sports Complex in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Delhi Smashers drew the first blood as the B Sai Praneeth won his match against World number seven Tien Ming Nguyen from Vietnam. He won the match by 21-16, 21-20 and gave Delhi a good start. Pune bounced back in the next match that was played between Juliane Schenk of Germany and Nichaon Jindapon of Thailand. Schenk didn’t take much time to wind up her Thai opponent and won the match by 21-15, 21-6, which got Pune Pistons back into the business.

Meanwhile, the men’s doubles contest saw Delhi making their way back into the contest as the World No. 2 Malaysian duo of Kien Keat Koo and Boon Heong Tan thrashed Indian pair of Rupesh Kumar and Sanave Thomas 21-13 21-16.

But the tussle between the World number 36 Sourabh Verma and his good friend HS Prannoy added some spark to the dazzling evening as they fought hard to clinch this heart-pumping thriller. Verma held his nerve to steal the show by 21-16 19-21 11-5. Pune was again back in the hunt as they made it 2-2.

As expected, the final clash of the evening turned out to be an absolute treat when Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa took on each other. Ponnaappa did well with her partner Joachim Fischer Nielsen to overpower the smashing duo of Jwala and Kien Keat Koo 21-19 16-21 11-3, and with that they managed to nail their ascendancy.