After 13 days of thrilling action, we have arrived at the final day of the 2017 Premier Badminton League (PBL-2). The PV Sindhu-led Chennai Smashers will face the Mumbai Rockets, headed by Sung Ji Hyun, in the title showdown at the Siri Fort Indoor Stadium in Delhi on Saturday.
The last time these two teams faced off, it was the southern franchise which emerged victorious 4-3 at the Bengaluru leg. Can Chennai repeat the same result tonight?
We make an in-depth analysis:
Sindhu vs Sung is the marquee clash of the day
There is no doubt that a lot will depend on the women’s singles match which has two of the biggest stars – World No. 6 PV Sindhu and World No. 3 Sung Ji Hyun. The outcome of this particular match will be pivotal for the final result.
Both of them won their respective matches in the semi-finals on Saturday. Sindhu played a brilliant match to beat her senior countrywoman Saina Nehwal in a highly-anticipated contest between India’s top two shuttle queens. The 21-year-old exhibited her newly-acquired maturity and poise to get her first win over the former World No. 1.
Sindhu has picked up right from where she left last year when she won the Rio Olympic silver medal and the China Open. She has carried on that confidence into this pan-India league and has won five of her six matches.
One of those wins came over the opponent she is going to face today – the 3rd ranked Sung Ji Hyun. Sindhu leads their head-to-head record, 6-4, but it is to be remembered that the Korean won their most recent showdown at an international competition when she edged past Sindhu at the Dubai World Superseries Finals in December.
She does possess immense talent and is currently at her highest-ever ranking after making it to the final of the World Superseries Finals. Sung displayed all her skills in absorbing the pace and power of the Olympic champion Carolina Marin, not just once but twice in PBL-2, the last of which came in the semi-finals.
Despite being pummelled by the Spaniard’s attacking play in the opening game, Sung did not feel intimidated at all. She made a remarkable turnaround after that and stunned the two-time world champion in three games.
Sung will be eager to bring forth that courage and conviction against Sindhu tonight as well which makes the women’s singles match an exciting prospect.
HS Prannoy is the key to Mumbai’s success
HS Prannoy has been the player to watch at the PBL-2. He has remained unbeaten, winning all his six matches. The reigning Swiss Open champion won the Trump in the semi-finals last night and has been instrumental in many of Mumbai’s victories this season.
There has been no let-up in Prannoy’s intensity and he has brought forth his ultra aggressive game to power past his opponents, giving ample evidence of the dangerous player he can be.
It goes without saying that Prannoy will be the key for the final too. He beat Parupalli Kashyap in Chennai and Mumbai’s league showdown and would try to emulate that.
However, Mumbai needs an inspiring performance from Ajay Jayaram too. The India No. 2 succumbed to Chennai ace Tommy Sugiarto during the league even though he did snatch a game.
Adcocks will look to rebound from their semi-final loss
The doubles action too will be crucial. Chennai’s Chris and Gabrielle Adcock grabbed a win over the Rockets’ Chirag Shetty and Nadiezda Zieba during the Bengaluru leg. The Adcocks, however, did stutter against Bodin Isara and Savitree Amitrapai in the semi-finals. Could that motivate the Rockets duo to topple the heavily favoured English combine?
The men’s doubles duo of Chris Adcock and Mads Pieler Kolding stunned the Awadhe Trump pair of Markis Kido and V Shem Goh with their ruthless game and they were the ones who scored the winning points for the yellow brigade. Can that win inspire them to avenge their league loss to Mumbai’s tough team of Lee Yong Dae and Nipitphon Phuangphuapet in the final?
Here’s all the information you need to know:
Name of competition: Premier Badminton League Season 2
Date: January 14, 2017
Time: 7 pm IST
Venue: Siri Fort Indoor stadium, Delhi
Channel: Star Sports 1, Star Sports 3, Star Sports 1 HD, Star Sports 3 HD
Streaming: Star Sports Hotstar