New Delhi: Doubles specialist Ashwini Ponnappa guided Pune Pistons to a thrilling 3-2 victory against hosts Delhi Smashers in the opening match of the USD one million Indian Badminton League (IBL) which kicked off with a short but colourful opening ceremony at the Siri Fort Sports Complex in New Delhi on Wednesday. (Highlights from Day 1 of IBL)
After a vibrant half-an-hour opening ceremony, India rising shuttler B Sai Praneeth and World number seven Tien Ming Nguyen from Vietnam set the ball rolling for the competition as they clashed in the men's singles match. Gaint-killer Praneeth earned the first blood for Delhi as he notched up a stunning 21-16 21-20 victory over Tien Minh but the hosts lost the lead when Pune's Juliane Schenk of Germany notched up an easy 21-15 21-6 over Nichaon Jindapon of Thailand in the second game and brought back the Pistons at 1-1.
However, as expected world number two Malaysian combo of Kien Keat Koo and Boon Heong Tan gave Delhi Smashers the lead once again when they sent packing the Indian pair of Rupesh Kumar and Sanave Thomas 21-13 21-16 in the men's doubles match.