Hunters Ace Delhi to Reach Semi-Finals

At Delhi’s Siri Fort Stadium, Delhi’s Siril Verma made a scintillating start with an 8-11 win in the first game over his more illustrious opponent – Sameer Verma. Sameer, however, settled down quickly in the second game onwards to win the tie 8-11 11-3 11-2. This gave the Hyderabad Hunters the start they wanted.Chau Hoi Wah & Satwik Sai Raj then outclassed Jwala Gutta & Vladimir Ivanov 11-4 11-3 as the Hunters got a footing in the knockout phase of the tournament. Up 2-0 on the night, the Hunters needed just 1 more point from the next three games with their Trump Player – Carolina Marin still to play.Jan O Jorgensen played the Trump for Delhi Acers and he put out an exhibition of stunning strokes to oust Rajiv Ouseph 11-5 11-7. Delhi were now trailing 2-1, but more importantly it meant Carolina Marin had to win her trump match to secure Hyderabad’s progress.Carolina Marin has been Hyderabad’s heartbeat this season, and she was never going to miss leading her franchise into the knockout phase. A tight first game against Nitchaon Jindapon went all the way to sudden death, but the Olympic Champion won it by the faintest of margins. The second game was more straightforward as Carolina Marin took the Hunters home 15-14 11-4. Up 4-2 on the night and sailing into the semi-finals – the last match of the evening Tan Boon Heong & Tan Wee Kiong take the court against Vladimir Ivanov & Ivan Sozonov. With nothing lose, the Russians put up a spirited performance but the Team of Tans got the better of them 11-9 13-11 to seal the victory and complete the formalities.The Hunters qualify in the 4th spot for the semi-finals and they will face Mumbai Rockets in the second semi-final on Friday. A victory would mean a prized finals clash against Awadhe Warriors or the Chennai Smashers.Without getting too ahead of ourselves, if a Hyderabad v Chennai finals does happen – it would be a perfect finale to a superlative tournament so far. It was Hyderabad v Chennai who kicked off the PBL this season and a summit clash of Carolina v Sindhu could just be the match to cap it all. Don’t say it just yet, but we all know who won the epic Hyderabad v Chennai clash on January 1st – talk about good omens & good feelings anyone?