World No 46 Subhankar Dey oozed brilliance under pressure to take the Awadhe Warriors to a 4-3 win against the North Eastern Warriors in their first tie at the Star Sports Premier Badminton League 2020 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium. With the two teams locked at 3-3, it boiled down to the men’s singles face-off between Awadhe Warriors’ Subhankar Dey and North Eastern Warriors’ Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk to decide the outcome of the penultimate tie in this city. Dey had lost his solitary encounter to the Thai at the Malaysia Masters last year but this time he came better prepared. Showing tremendous anticipation skills, he was ready for every move the North Eastern Warriors ace made and totally took him out of his comfort zone. The result was a spectacular 15-9, 15-13 win that gifted the Awadhe brigade the victory at the end of an enthralling tie.
Earlier, World No. 18 Lee Cheuk Yiu continued his winning streak in the other men’s singles match of the day. Fresh from reaching the semi-finals at the Indonesia Masters, Lee Cheuk Yiu carried on his scintillating form to deliver a second consecutive win for the North Eastern Warriors, two days after upsetting World Championships bronze medallist Sai Praneeth. In an exhilarating battle between two of Hong Kong’s best shuttlers, Yiu held his nerves and dug deep to see off his senior compatriot, Wong Wing Ki Vincent of the Awadhe Warriors 13-15, 15-10, 15-11. Lee was initially troubled by Vincent’s aggressive show but once he found his rhythm, he was able to take the match away from the former World No. 10.
Christinna Pedersen made a winning return to the league with a hard-fought win that had the crowd on the edge of their seats. The Danish star, who has two Olympic medals on her illustrious resume, had mesmerized her Indian fans with her exquisite touches in her two previous appearances for the Lucknow-based franchise.
This time it was no different. The former World No. 1 showed her grit and tenacity in partnership with fellow former World No. 1 Ko Sung Hyun to get the Awadhe Warriors off to a tight 8-15, 15-11, 15-14 win over the North Eastern Warriors’ Bodin Isara and Kim Ha Na. World No. 14 Beiwen Zhang and World No. 8 Michelle Li have a close rivalry with Awadhe Warriors’ Zhang having a slight edge of 4-3. But Li did not let that bother as she put up a remarkable performance to see off Zhang 15-13, 15-14. With the Guwahati-based franchise leading 3-1, it was all left to the Trump pair of Ko Sung Hyun and Shin Baek Cheol to bring Awadhe back into contention. Hyun’s partnership with former world champion Shin Baek Cheol yielded three titles last year and they weaved magic on the court once again to stave off a spirited challenge from North Eastern Warriors’ Krishna Prasad Garaga and Lee Yong Dae to win 8-15, 15-14, 15-12.