Venus Image Courtesy:
23 Dec, 2018
Ever since the PBL Season 4 auctions unfolded the only thing the
Badminton fans have been waiting for is the PV Sindhu v Carolina Marin clash. While
most people expected it to be the first clash of the hugely anticipated
Hyderabad-Pune tie, the match was penciled in to be the fourth match, after both
of the men’s singles and the doubles match.
The men's doubles and one of the men's singles were also the trump
encounters. So in all fairness, when the draw was made Sindhu v Carolina could
well have been the clash to decide the result of the tie, and yet the manner in
which the tie unfolded meant that the leading ladies of Hyderabad – a former skipper
and a current one, an honorary Hyderabadi and a resident one – came out to a 5
– (-1) advantage in favor of Sindhu.
Hyderabad was ahead and how! Thus far, the tie had been super
competitive, and yet Pune had little to show for their efforts. They hadn't
just lost three matches on the bounce but were looking at a very realistic
possibility of being blanked out on their Premier Badminton League debut. So
Carolina, had to win! Not just to give her new team something to cheer, but
simply to put them on the scoreboard.
The lopsided scorecard did not mean that Sindhu walked out on to the
court without any pressure. Here she was, playing for her legion of Hyderabad
fans who simply adored her and treated her nothing less than a princess. The
pain of not having her in the team was only masked thus far, by Carolina’s
brilliance – something Sindhu would have to overcome.
And thus, walked out, arguably two of Badminton’s biggest stars of the
present generation, ready to take court. As they stood courtside to complete
their pre-match interviews a commercial break on TV meant, they had to wait for
45 seconds before they could finish the TV tête-à-tête and get to the on-court
It was in those 45 seconds you could see both of them pondering over,
what were to come. For Hyderabad, the war had been won, but Sindhu had a
personal battle to conquer. And for Marin, her team may have lost the war, but
winning the battle was much needed to inject belief, pride and a sense of
belonging into her new team.
First game of the match and Carolina clearly had the upper hand. A
couple of unforced errors, a misjudged line-challenge and some brilliance
stroke play from Carolina put the game past Sindhu. Carolina had smelt blood in
the first game and was ready to move in for the kill in the second one. At the
interval, egged on by her coaches, there was a change in strategy and Sindhu
came out all guns blazing in the second game.
Before the crowd or Carolina could get their act together in the second
game, she was up 5-0 and refused to let go of the advantage. The second game
Sindhu was far more aggressive, purposeful and totally went for her shots.
Every point swelled her confidence and she looked more sublime the longer the
Second game wrapped up in a jiffy. The third game was to be the
decider. Sindhu remained ahead but Marin was always in the hunt. At 13-13 it
might have been anyone’s game but Sindhu held her nerve to take the game and
the match, and of course the bragging rights 11-15 15-8 15-13.
Sindhu had won. And Sindhu had won for Hyderabad.
She knew, that even if all other matches were won, the airwaves would
be dominated by conversations of her match with Marin. There was too much
riding on this encounter – the first match of PBL, former skipper v current
skipper of Hyderabad, Carolina to showcase what Hyderabad was going to miss,
and Sindhu to exhibit what she had to bring for the Hunters fans!
A Battle Royale, indeed!
And the princess of Hyderabad – PV Sindhu –did it! With panache and