Mumbai Rockets got the better of Awadhe Warriors 3-2 (4-1 on points) to keep their hopes alive in the Premier Badminton League at the BBD UPBA on Thursday as the league moved to Chennai from Friday. Going into the final encounter of the day, Mumbai men's doubles duo of Lee Yong Dae and Tan Boon Heong beat Awadhe's Hendra Setiawana and Or Chin Chung 15-13, 15-12 to register their second win of the season. The win gave them crucial four points that took them to the fifth position on the table from eighth with a total of 10 points, while Awadhe's one point from fixture proved enough for them to consolidate their place at the top of the table with 12 points.
In the super-match of the day, World No.3 Kidambi Srikanth of India overcame a stiff challenge from Korea's World No. 5 Son Wan Ho to pick-up a thrilling 15-13,13-15, 15-4 victory to reduce Awadhe's deficit.
Srikanth who was on a two-match losing streak did well to pick up the win and log in a crucial point for his team.
In the women's singles match, World No.10 Saina Nehwal of India pulled off a stunning 8-15,15-10,15-13 victory over World No.11 Beiwen Zhang of USA to keep Awadhe Warriors afloat in the tie against Mumbai Rockets.
Saina who is coming into the match at the back of a defeat against World No.1 Tai Tzu Ying proved to be no match against Beiwen in the opening game. The US Shuttler was using the length of the court perfectly tormenting the Indian with her superb cross-court drops and smashes and raced to victory in the opening game in no time.
But Saina known for her resiliency got back into the match and even though Beiwen was leading in the initial phases of second game, the Indian slowly turned the tides and went into break leading 8-7. She did not allow Beiwen any chance post the interval and wrapped up the game to restore parity.
In the final game, Saina was in no mood to let go off the opportunity to pounce on her opponent and brought all her experience into play. She made full use of the tiring US player and went into the break with a lead of 8-4. After the change of ends, even though Beiwen troubled the Indian with her impeccable net-play and saved three match points, it was Saina who eventually went on to win the match to send the packed stadium into rapturous celebration.
The tie was extremely crucial from Mumbai's point of view as they were currently languishing at the bottom of the table with six points. A loss here would mean that they will be virtually out of semifinals reckoning but a win with good margin will keep them alive in the race.
Earlier in the day, Sameer Verma picked up a comfortable 15-6,15-14 straight games victory against his compatriot Harshit Aggarwal to give Mumbai Rockets a huge 2 (-1) over Awadhe Warriors in this five match duel.
The young Harshit replacing Parupalli Kashyap in the line-up could mount any serious challenge on his senior pro and went meekly in the opening game.
He did try to make a comeback in the second game and even though was looking in better touch and took the game to wire, it was Sameer who sealed the deal with a smash.
In the first match of the day, mixed doubles pair of Lee Yong Dae and Gabriela Stoeva pulled off a major coup by beating Christinna Pedersen and Tang Chun Man 15-10, 14-15, 15-7 to give Mumbai the early lead into the tie. The match also saw Awadhe getting penalised with a point as it was their trump match.