Lucknow, January 28: After four days of thrilling action, the Star Sports Premier Badminton League 2020 caravan now moves to the final leg in Hyderabad where the G. M. C. Balayogi SATS Indoor Stadium will be hosting the matches from January 29 to February 9. With the semi-finals and the final too scheduled to be held in the city, it will be a treat for the badminton-loving fans of the City of Pearls.
Former champions Hyderabad Hunters return to the venue where they have fond memories of lifting the trophy in the third season as the PV Sindhu-led team begins its home campaign tomorrow in a tough face-off with the North Eastern Warriors. Both the teams have had mixed fortunes so far and both will be gunning to start the leg with an advantage, which has set up an enthralling showdown on the first day.
“Feel happy to have contributed a win for the Hunters after a slow start. We are upbeat after the win and look forward to all the support at home,” said Sourabh Verma who played a pivotal role in taking the Hunters to a 2-1 win over the Awadhe Warriors in their most recent tie.
The leg is set to witness 15 exciting ties on 12 days with three days hosting double headers. With each of the seven teams playing, competition will be at its peak as they vie for the trophy.
It will be a challenge for all the teams to topple the high-flying Chennai Superstarz who have looked solid in every department. The Chennai franchise has remained unbeaten in three outings and leads the standings with 13 points. Thailand Open men’s doubles champion Satwiksairaj Rankireddy has entertained the crowd with not just his flurry of smashes but with his dancing skills as well and he is in mood to stop any time soon.
“I am thoroughly enjoying my time with the Chennai team. Beating the last two years’ champions has elevated our confidence level and we are not going to settle for anything less than the title,” said Rankireddy.
In a blockbuster encounter between the top two teams of Season 5, Chennai will be put to a stern test by Pune 7 Aces who have been sensational throughout the Lucknow leg, notching up a flawless 2-0 record. In the first of the double headers on January 30, Satwik could potentially meet his regular doubles partner, Chirag Shetty who has been phenomenal in his partnership with world champion Hendra Setiawan.
“It has been a very good start for Pune 7 Aces. Our doubles combinations have worked out very well and singles too has fetched us wins. The Lucknow leg has boosted our confidence and we hope to carry on with the same momentum in Hyderabad,” said Chirag Shetty of Pune 7 Aces.
In the other match of the day, former runners-up Mumbai Rockets will have a tough task against the Guwahati-based franchise.
Defending champions Bengaluru Raptors, who are currently No. 3 in the points table, will take the court on January 31 in a much-awaited clash that will pit World No. 6 PV Sindhu against the World No. 2 Tai Tzu Ying. With two more double headers scheduled on February 1 and February 4, the league will move into the knockouts from February 7.