Hyderabad Hunters took a 3-0 lead (with two more matches still to be played) against Bengaluru Blasters in the Vodafone PBL league match at Gachibowli Indoor Stadium here on Thursday. Ahmedabad Smash Masters are in second spot with 17 points, followed by Delhi Dashers on 15 points. The Hunters going into the semi-finals claiming the top spot with 20 points by winning this while Bengaluru slip to third spot.
With the battle for the title commencing on Friday, Hyderabad have emerged as strong contenders for the league honours.
The home team was off to a winning start with the mixed doubles combine of R. Satwiksairaj and Pia Zebadiah getting the better of the experienced Blasters duo of Manu Attri and N. Sikki Reddy. But the Reddys fought back to level the scores 14-15.
The results: Hyderabad Hunters vs Bengaluru Blasters 3-0 (R. Satwiksairaj & Pia Zebadiah bt Manu Attri & N. Sikki Reddy 15-6, 14-15, 15-9; B. Sai Praneeth bt Chong Wei Feng 10-15, 15-7, 15-14; Carolina Marin bt Kirsty Gilmour 15-9, 15-7).
In the decider, the left-handed Malaysian was down for the count at 12-14 but he pulled level to take the game into the tie-breaker. Serving for the match, the World No 45 smacked a Praneeth return into the net to end his gallant fightback. But Korean Lee Hyun squeezed a tight 15-11, 11-15, 15-11 win to extend Hyderabad's surge.
Lee Hyun Il then beat S Dey 15-11, 11-15, 15-11 in their Trump game before M Kido and Y Y Seong completed the rout beating K S Rang and M Boe 15-10, 11-15, 15-7 in Bengaluru's Trump game.
In an inconsequential match which also saw Blasters rest World No. 1 Viktor Axelsen as both the teams have already made it to the last-four stage, Hunters perhaps were hungrier to keep the record straight even before the two Trump matches were played.