The ten days of the 2016 Premier Badminton League (PBL) have witnessed some thrilling action replete with brilliant shotmaking and some gutsy play from the six teams. The addition of the ‘Trump Match’ has heightened the level of excitement as that has been instrumental in delivering the win for a team. Which are the players who have proved themselves indispensable for their respective teams? We have a look at the five most valuable players at the PBL so far.
#5 Gabrielle Adcock(DelhiAcers)
There is a reason why the Delhi Acers has not lost a single ‘Trump Match’ till date and it is simply because of their praiseworthy team effort. It is not just the World No. 11 Tommy Sugiarto who has thrived so far but the Acers have been impressive in doubles too.
English superstar Gabrielle Adcock is one of the prime factors for the Delhi franchise’s success at the PBL. The Dubai World Superseries mixed doubles champion has time and again given a proof of her immense talent and tremendous fighting skills as she surged to two wins, one of which has been a ‘Trump Match’ triumph.
Adcock has put up a wonderful effort so far and even when she lost, it has been extremely close as evidenced by her and her partner Koon Kiet Keat’s 15-14, 14-15, 14-15 loss to the Chennai duo of Chris Adcock/Pia Zebadiah. That itself shows that she can play a huge role in the rest of the Acers’ campaign as they seek the PBL crown.
#4 Bodin Issara (Awadhe Warriors)
Indonesian doubles exponent Bodin Issara has been in impeccable form at the PBL. His services have hauled the Awadhe Warriors to the top of the table even after a disappointing opening match defeat.
Issara has sparkled in both men’s and mixed doubles formats. His exceptional fighting spirit and aggression have gifted the Saina Nehwal-led Warriors a total of two ‘Trump Match’ victories across both men’s and mixed doubles.
It is the men’s doubles where Issara has been outstanding. Alongside the Chinese Olympic men’s doubles champion Cai Yun, the World No. 33 has shown some superb display which was responsible for their flawless three wins.
#3 Mathias Boe/Vladimir Ivanov (Mumbai Rockets)
The pairing of World No. 4 Mathias Boe and the 11th ranked Vladimir Ivanov has been a revelation. The Dane and the Russian have been complementing each other perfectly and have been an asset for the Mumbai Rockets.
The pair is not only undefeated till now in their three matches but also succeeded in pocketing both the ‘Trump Match’ wins as well. Where they have made a difference with other teams is how they have come alive in rival teams’ ‘Trump Matches’ too.
In Mumbai’s opener against the Awadhe Warriors, they subjected the Awadhe duo of Hendra Gunawan/Cai Yun to a straight-game loss, which happened to be the Warriors’ ‘Trump Match’. It is thus no wonder that the Rockets are now at the fourth position and are close to a semi-final berth.
#2 Tommy Sugiarto(Delhi Acers)
One of the big reasons why the Delhi Acers is currently perched at the second position in the Team Standings is because of the invaluable efforts of its men’s singles player, Tommy Sugiarto. The Indonesian wrapped up the 2015 season in stellar fashion by clinching the Indonesian Masters at home.
At the PBL too, he has been nothing short of being spectacular. The World No. 11 has been one of the key players who helped the Delhi franchise make a turnaround after two straight losses.
He has been unbeaten so far, triumphing in all three of his matches that includes a ‘Trump Match’ victory over Brice Leverdez of the Chennai Smashers. But it was his remarkable win over the in-form former World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei that stood out. He thus snatched points by denying the Hyderabad Hunters a most-coveted ‘Trump Match’ win which proved crucial for the Acers’ overall victory.
#1 PV Sindhu(Chennai Smashers)
The 20-year-old double World Championships bronze medallist, PV Sindhu has been sensational at the PBL. She has undoubtedly carried her form from her Macau Open win in December to this pan-India league.
With four out of four victories, the young skipper of the Chennai Smashers has led from the front. What is more important is that she has won both her ‘Trump Matches’, which has played a huge role in pushing the Smashers inside the top 4.
Thus Sindhu has not only been a fine captain, but she has also been able to inspire the entire team as they hunt for the PBL title.