Lucknow, Jan 5: Russia's Vladimir Ivanov turned out to be the star performer for Mumbai Rockets as he guided his team to a thrilling 4-3 victory over Bengaluru Top Guns in the Premier Badminton League (PBL) here today.
Earlier, Chennai Smashers put up a clinical display to outplay Delhi Acers 4-3 and register their second consecutive win in an exciting encounter. Thailand's Suo Di and Kidambi Srikanth won their matches for Bengaluru, who had lost their last match against Hyderabad Hunters.
However, Mumbai, who had also faced a 2-3 defeat in their last match against Chennai Smashers, scored through men's doubles pair of Mathias Boe and Vladimir Ivanov and men's singles player RMV Gurusaidutt.
In the end it was Ivanov and Liu Zi Die who earned that victory for Mumbai in the mixed doubles contest. Bangalore drew the first blood in the five-match rubber when Thailand's Suo Di surpassed former world No. 11 Han Li of Mumbai 15-9, 11-15, 15-7 in the women's singles match to register one point for her team.
Sou di said: "I won the first game quite easily but Han came back strongly to win the second. Thankfully, I hung on to hold the third game and won an important point for our team."
Men's doubles pair of Mathias Boe and Vladimir Ivanov then brought Mumbai back in the tie with a thrilling 15-13 15-11 win over Bengaluru's Malaysian pair of Hoon Thien How and Kim Wah Lim in their trump match to log two points.
Gurusaidutt swelled the lead for Mumbai Rockets with a 15-7 15-13 win over Benguluru's Anand Pawar in the first men's singles match.
Lagging 1-3, Srikanth took the onus on himself to bring Bengaluru back into the contest through their trump match and the World No. 9 did that in style with a 15-9 15-8 win over World No. 20 H S Prannoy in the second singles.
Srikanth said, "We desperately wanted to win this game after back to back losses. The win ensures that the tie is still alive and from here it can be anyone's match. I am positive that we will win the next one and the tie I am excited to witness the upcoming clash."
With scores level at 3-3, Ivanov once again took the court and this time paired up with Liu Zi Die and notched up a 15-12, 11-15, 15-9 win over Ashwini and Robert. The Smashers had earlier defeated Mumbai Rockets 3-2 in their opening tie two days ago.
For Delhi Acers, it is their second straight defeat, having lost 2-3 to Sania Nehwal-led Awadhe Warriors yesterday. It was the Smashers who started the tie on a positive note, winning the men's doubles match.
In the opening match of tie, the pair of Chris Adcock and Pranaav Jerry Chopra got the better of Malaysian duo of Koo Keat Kien and Tan Boon Heong 15-12, 15-14 in the men's doubles match to give Chennai the lead. In women's singles, Smashers skipper PV Sindhu beat PC Thulasi of the Acers 15-5, 15-4.