PBL 2018: Bengaluru Blasters ride on Viktor Axelsen and Chong Wei Feng's exploits to start campaign with win

New Delhi: Superlative performances by World Champion Viktor Axelsen of Denmark and Malaysia's Chong Wei Feng helped Bengaluru Blasters trounce Delhi Dashers in their opening match of the third Premier Badminton League (PBL) on Thursday.

World No 1 Axelsen, who recently defended his title at the Dubai Superseries Final, outclassed China's World No 22 Tian Houwei 15-11, 15-11 in Bengaluru's Trump match to seal the tie with one match to go at the Siri Fort Sports Complex.

After the fourth match, Benguluru had taken a 4-2 unassailable lead over Delhi Dashers, who recently got a new owner in Dalmiya Cement.

 PBL 2018: Bengaluru Blasters ride on Viktor Axelsen and Chong Wei Fengs exploits to start campaign with win

Viktor Axelsen in action for Bengaluru Blasters. Image courtesy: Twitter @PBLIndiaLive

Earlier, playing their first match of the season, Bengaluru Blasters drew first blood with Korean Kim Sa Rang and India's N Sikki Reddy combining well to secure a 15-10, 12-15, 15-11 win over the Delhi pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and Ivanov Vladimir in the mixed doubles opening match.

World No 45 Malaysian Chong Wei Feng then dished out a gritty game as he came back from a game down to stun 15th ranked Wong Wing Ki Vincent of Hong Kong 10-15, 15-13, 15-8 in the first men's singles to put the Blasters 2-0 ahead.

Delhi, who had lost their opening match 1-4 to Mumbai Rockets in Guwahati, then put their faith on Sung Ji Hyun, a bronze medallist at the 2015 World Championships, and the World No 6 Korean overcame 2014 Commonwealth Games silver medallist and World No 16 Kirsty Gilmour 15-10, 8-15, 15-5 in their Trump match to bring her team back into the contest.

However, Axelsen, who won two Superseries titles in India and China and finished runners-up at China Open, poured cold water on Delhi's hopes with a superb performance in the second men's singles, rendering the fifth and last match — men's doubles — inconsequential.

The Odense-born shuttler showed great athleticism and control as he led 8-6 at the first interval before comfortably pocketing the opening game. The Dane zoomed to a 6-1 lead in the second and grabbed a 8-4 advantage at the breather with a towering down-the-line smash.

The left-handed Chong Wei was trailing 4-8 at the first break but he reeled off four points at 6-12 to make it 10-12 but he could not stop Vincent from walking away with the opening game.

In the second game, the Malaysian fell behind 6-8 again but he slowly made his way back and drew parity at 12-12 before turning the tables at 13-12 when Vincent hit out. He eventually roared back into the contest when the Hong Kong shuttler again went long.

Chong Wei then dominated the decider, surging to a 6-1 lead. Vincent grabbed three successive points before the Malaysian went into the interval with a 8-4 advantage. Chong Wei then came out with all cylinders blazing and sealed the match when his rival lost a video referral after going wide again.

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Updated Date: Dec 28, 2017 23:39:12 IST