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2016 Premier Badminton League: Can Awadhe Warriors bounce back on home turf?

A look ahead to Day One of the Lucknow leg of the Premier Badminton League.

Will Saina Nehwal make her PBL debut later today?

After losing their opening contest against the Mumbai Rockets on Saturday, the Awadhe Warriors will look to bounce back in front of their home fans on Monday, when they face the Delhi Acers  in the opening day of the Lucknow leg of the 2016 Premier Badminton League.

Here’s a look ahead to what we can expect:

Men’s Singles: Sai Praneeth(AW) vs Rajiv Ouseph(DA)(probable)

After losing his opening match of the League to fellow countrymen RMV Gurusaidutt on Saturday, Sai Praneeth will look to bounce back on Monday, but the task won't be as easy for him as he could be up against World No. 17 Rajiv Ouseph of Great Britain. 

The two have met just once on the international stage, at the Bitburger Open earlier this year, where Ouseph  won in three games. Prior to the start of the competition, Sai had spoken about how intended to break the jinx of losing close matches. After narrowly missing out against Gurusaidutt on Saturday, he will be hoping to close down the match if it does reach that stage on Monday.

Women’s Singles: Saina Nehwal/Vrushali Gummadi(AW) vs P.C.Thulasi(DA)(probable)

After missing out in Mumbai due to injury, it is hoped that the skipper of the Awadhe Warriors and star player Saina Nehwal makes her debut in the 2016 PBL. The 25-year-old was seen sitting in the stands and cheering her teammates along on Saturday, and watching her team have their backs to the wall for the most part of the night, would have certainly tempted her to take the racquet and hit the court.

Whether its Saina or Gummadi,  they will be up against  P.C Thulasi of the Acers, who will look to punch above her weight and provide the Acers a win in the only Women’s Singles tie of the night. It will also be interesting to see if either teams employ the “Trump Match” on this contest.

Men’s Singles- Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk(AW) vs Ajay Jayaram(DA)(probable)

The Awadhe Warriors looked down and out on Saturday, but in the form of Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk of  Thailand, the visitors found some positivity as he beat HS Prannoy in the second Men’s Singles tie of the night to open his side’s account.

On Monday, he will be up against Ajay Jayaram of the Acers, who will look to get his campaign off to a winning start. The head-to-head is in the favour of the Thai, having won on both occasions that the two have met.

Mixed Doubles-Bodi Issara/Christina Pederson(AW) vs Tan Boon Heong/Koot Kien Keat/Gabrielle Adcock(probable)

The pair of Issara and Pederson pulled off an impressive win the final contest of the night on Saturday, beating Vladimir Ivanov and Kamilla Juhl in the Mixed Doubles. On Monday, they will be up against the impressive Gabrielle Adcock and either of Tan Boon Heong or Koot Kien Keat of Malaysia, both established players in Doubles.

It will be interesting to see who the Acers pick as the partner for Adcock if the last match of the day turns out to the Men’s  since no player can play two consecutive matches in the League, as per the rules.

Men’s Doubles- Cai Yun/Hendra Gunawan(AW) vs Akshay Dewalkar/Koot Kien Keat/Tam Boon Heong(DA)(probable)

After losing on Saturday, the pair of Yun and Gunawan will look to bounce back on Monday when they face up against Akshay Dewalkar and either of Kear or Heong.  If the Warriors had to pinpoint a match that served a possible death nail eventually, they would say it was Men’s Doubles tie, particularly after they had employed their “Trump Match” on this encounter.

The Warriors will be hoping that on Monday night, their “Trump Match” proves to be more successful.

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