English recruit Rajiv Ouseph mesmerised badminton fans in the capital with a stunning victory over World No. 9 Kidambi Srikanth as Delhi Acers notched up their second successive win in the Premier Badminton League by outclassing Bengaluru Top Guns 5-2 at the Siri Fort Stadium here on Friday.
The 29-year-old, who had won a silver medal in the Commonwealth Games here in 2010, scripted another memorable victory in front of a handful of cheering fans here when he saw off Srikanth 4-15, 15-11, 15-9 in the second men's singles to give Delhi an unassailable 4-0 lead in the five-match rubber.
Korea Open Super Series finalist, Ajay Jayaram gave Delhi Acers a positive start as he saw off TATA Open winner Sameer Verma 15-10, 15-12 in the opening men's singles match.
Jayaram had an easy ride in the opening game as he broke off from 6-6 to gradually distance himself from Sameer to seal it with a smash at 14-10.
In the second game, Sameer showed better fight as he clawed his way back to 10-10 after trailing at 2-8 at the first break. However, Jayaram again surged ahead and grabbed the lead at 13-12 when the 21-year-old from Dhar found the nets. The Mumbai-born shuttler eventually shut the door with a jump smash.
Jayaram said: "It was an incredible start in the Tie to build pressure on the opponent. I played few matches against Sameer before and knew his style of play which helped me to create my strategy. I just put pressure on him from the first service and managed to continue till the last minute. I played my natural game and kept the game tight."
Former men's doubles World No. 1 pair of Koo Keat Kien and Tan Boon Heong then earned Delhi two crucial points after beating Malaysian duo of Hoon Thien How and Khim Wah Lim 15-9, 15-10 in the hosts' Trump match to take their lead to 3-0.
Benguluru then put the onus on Srikanth, who won the India Super Series here last year, to bring them back in the contest but the 22-year-old from Guntur could not deliver the goods.
China Open 2014 winner, Srikanth, who had beaten former World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei in Mumbai recently during their match against the Rockets, ran away with the opening match as Rajiv struggled with his strokes early on.
But the former World No. 11 England shuttler dished out a superb game of badminton in the second game as he pushed Srikanth to commit a lot of unforced errors to bounce back into the contest.
Rajiv continued his good run in the third game as he opened up a 8-4 lead early on and moved to a 12-5 lead in a jiffy with Srikanth hitting wide, long and at the nets. In the end, Rajiv shut the door on the Indian when he once again hit long.
This was Benguluru's fourth loss in the tournament. They had earlier faced defeats against Hyderabad Hunters, Mumbai Rockets and Awadhe Warriors.
After winning the deciding third match, Rajiv said, "It was a great match for me as I played extremely well against Srikanth. I was bit nervous in the first game and could not get a proper rhythm, which cost me the first game."
"However, I understood the game of Srikanth and played according to his style. I focused more on my surprise shots and managed to inject the shuttle into the spot. After winning the second game, I got more confidence in the third game and eventually I won it. This win helps my team to bag the Tie for the day."
Bengaluru then reduced the margin of defeat when Suo Di spanked Delhi's Shikha Gautam 15-5 15-6 in a women's singles contest to earn the visitors two points from their Trump match.
Sou Di stated: "The match was good and Shikha is a talented player, not easy to beat her. My start was good and maintained my form from the first point. By committing less errors, I gave no room to Shikha to edge past me.
"I continued my dominating game and maintained pressure on her. After winning the first game, I played with more aggression and won the second game with an ease. My win was very important for my team and it motivated them."
In the fifth match of the day, Benguluru's Ashwini Ponnappa and Khim Wah Lim then tried to reduce the margin further but lost 14-15, 15-9 12-15 to Delhi's Gabrielle Adcock and Koo Keat Kien in the mixed doubles match.