2016 Premier Badminton League: Delhi Acers look to start positively on home turf against Hyderabad Hunters
After the Mumbai and Lucknow legs, the 2016 Premier Badminton League (PBL) now arrives at Delhi where the first match will see the hosts Delhi Acers locking horns with the Hyderabad Hunters. While the Lee Chong Wei-powered Hunters won the only match they have played so far, the Acers are yet to open their account.
Could this be the match where their efforts finally bear fruit? We take a look:
Men’s singles: Tommy Sugiarto (DA) vs Lee Chong Wei (HH) (probable)
This is a match-up the Delhi Acers’ Tommy Sugiarto certainly wouldn’t welcome. He has played the former World No. 1 Malaysian 13 times and succeeded in taking a game off him just twice!Surely, the odds are in favour of the visitors in this contest and there’s no doubt that this will be the Hunters’ choice for their ‘Trump Match’.
Having said that, one cannot deny that the World No. 11 Sugiarto has arrived at the PBL with a rich vein of form. He captured the Indonesian Masters title in December and followed it up with a spectacular performance against the Chennai Smashers’ Brice Leverdez at the PBL.
Can that inspire him to pull off some magic tricks against Lee Chong Wei?
Women’s singles: PC Thulasi (DA) vs Supanida K (HH) (probable)
Youth and experience clash in this match which will see India’s seasoned pro PC Thulasi coming up against the talented 18-year-old Thai girl Supanida K. The only time that these two have met, it was experience that prevailed as Thulasi emerged victorious in straight games.
The young Thai is still a novice, who is trying her best to get accustomed to the PBL atmosphere. She started with a loss against Bengaluru’s Suo Di and might need some time before she can find her full range.
Thulasi, on the other hand, is a veteran who will be desperate to prove a point after two consecutive losses. This is perhaps the 24-year-old’s brightest chance to make amends.
Men’s singles: Ajay Jayaram (DA) vs Parupalli Kashyap (HH) (probable)
When two of India’s marquee shuttlers meet, sparks are sure to fly! Interestingly, the two haven’t met on the Tour since the 2008 Portuguese International. That meeting must be etched in the memories of both as Jayaram managed to win with a hard-fought 23-21 scoreline in the third game after a marathon battle.
The score itself guarantees that there will be fireworks when they meet again. Ajay is currently soaring with confidence after attaining his best-ever ranking of 21. He defended his Dutch Open title and also reached the Korea Open final in 2015.
With Parupalli Kashyap still being rusty after his injury layoff, the Delhi Acers player will be looking for every opportunity to continue his mastery over the 29-year-old. The Acers thus might even select this one for their ‘Trump match’.
Men’s doubles: Tan Boong Heong/Koon Kien Keat (DA) vs Carsten Mogensen/Markis Kido (HH) (probable)
For the Acers pair of Tan Boong Heong/Koon Kien Keat, this hasn’t been a tournament to remember so far. The World No. 18 duo has faltered in their two previous matches and will be under extreme pressure to deliver.
It might not be the best time for them to face the pair of Markis Kido and Carsten Mogensen, each of whom has vast experience in the doubles circuit. Both Kido and Mogensen reached the pinnacle of the world rankings and they seem to have adapted to the PBL format very well. The Dane and the Indonesian started off their PBL campaign with a tough three-game win and would be keen to build on it further.
Mixed doubles: Akshay Dewalkar/Gabrielle Adcock (DA) vs Markis Kido/Jwala Gutta (HH) (probable)
After losing their last mixed doubles encounter, the Delhi Acers would be eager to go back to their dependable team of Akshay Dewalkar/Gabrielle Adcock who delivered them the win in Delhi’s first PBL tie. The Indian and the Briton complemented each other well that saw them beat the Awadhe Warriors duo of Hendra Gunawan/K Maneesha in three games.
With their next opponents – Markis Kido and Jwala Gutta – still desperately searching for their maiden win, Delhi definitely have the upper hand in this contest.
Note: The singles and doubles match-ups are as per our assumptions for the most obvious player combinations. They are subject to change if one or more of the players are unavailable from either team, or if the team managements decide to change the combinations based on current form