Internet Desk: The third edition of the Premier Badminton League (PBL) opens with a grudge match, with PV Sindhu’s Chennai Smashers taking on Saina Nehwal’s Awadhe Warriors on December 23.
The first leg will take place in new entrants North Eastern Warriors’ hometown, Guwahati, who enter the arena on the very second day to face the might of Carolina Marin’s Hyderabad Hunters.
The 23-day long league has carefully been laid out, with only tie lined up each day at prime time to give the players and teams enough time to recover for their next encounter.
“This is going to be an exciting edition of the PBL, the world’s biggest badminton league,” Atul Pandey, Managing Director, Sportzlive said. “It’s a longer tournament, with eight teams in fray. Virtually all the best players have signed up too, which makes it the one and only true world league in the country,” he added.
A bevy of top players, including men’s No. 1 Victor Axelson (Bengaluru Blasters) and women’s No.1 Tai Tzu-Ying (Ahmadabad Smash Masters), will be seen in action during this badminton extravaganza.
The fast growing army of shuttle fans the in the country can hope to see world-class fare from close quarters, many of them in their own cities.
After four days of intense battles in Guwahati the bandwagon shifts to Delhi.
Delhi will see five ties, with the Delhi Dashers enjoying the benefit of playing two matches at home. They will hope to pick up maximum points against Bengaluru Blasters and Hyderabad Hunters to make it at least to the semifinals this year.
The next stop will be the ‘City of Nawabs’, Lucknow. Victor Axelson’s Bengaluru Blasters will clash with San Wan-Ho’s Mumbai Rockets to ring in the New Year. Four ties have been slotted here, giving North Eastern Warriors and Hyderabad Hunters a solid four-day break.
The PBL will move to the warmer climes of Chennai on January 5 for the penultimate leg. The battles are expected to reach fever-pitch by then, with every team scrambling for points and a place in the knockout stage.
After an intense five-day stint, the players will shift to Hyderabad on January 10. Only two ties have been lined up here, with the Dashers meeting the Warriors and the Hunters the Blasters.
The semifinals will take place on January 12 and 13 followed by the final, which will be held the very next day, on January 14.