PBL 2018-19: Indonesia’s Ahsan and Setiawan take Bengaluru Raptors to victory

Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan

Indonesian doubles greats Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan played a pivotal role in taking the Bengaluru Raptors to a 4-3 victory over the North Eastern Warriors at the Premier Badminton League Season 4 (PBL 2018-19) held at The Arena by SE TransStadia in Ahmedabad, India.

The former world champions beat the Warriors’ Liao Min Chun and Yoo Yeon Seong 15-14, 15-11. The first game turned out to be highly competitive but the Indonesians held their nerves to eke out the tight game.

In the second game, the Raptors pair trailed 9-10 before winning five of the next six points to grab the win.

This is the third win out of four appearances for Ahsan and Setiawan at the PBL 2018-19. The former World No. 1 pair finished the 2018 season by qualifying for the BWF World Tour Finals after winning the Singapore Open. The highly consistent season has seen them end 2018 as the ninth-best men’s doubles team in the world.

They are simply carrying on from there at the PBL 2018-19 and have been one of the most standout men’s doubles pairs in Season 4 of this pan-Indian competition.

In the other matches of the day, Thailand’s Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk, representing the Warriors, went down fighting 11-15, 12-15 to former World No. 1 Kidambi Srikanth of the Raptors. The in-form Srikanth thus notched up his fourth win in four matches this season.

Former Singapore Open champion Sai Praneeth too contributed to the Raptors’ cause with a 12-15, 15-6, 15-7 win over Tian Houwei.

Commonwealth Games gold medallist Saina Nehwal was expected to win her match easily and there was no surprise there. The 28-year-old, representing the north-eastern franchise, was far too strong for Bengaluru’s World No. 59 Vu Thi Trang. The London Olympic bronze medallist put up a commanding 15-10, 15-7 victory.

In the mixed doubles rubber, the Warriors’ Liao Min Chun and Kim Ha Na beat Bengaluru’s Commonwealth Games silver medal-winning pair of Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith 15-11, 15-9.