After two days of high-octane action at Hyderabad, the 2017 Premier Badminton League (PBL-2) has now moved on to Mumbai. A mouthwatering double-header waits as the Bengaluru Blasters meet the Chennai Smashers while the Mumbai Rockets open their campaign against the defending champions Delhi Acers.
PV Sindhu-led Smashers aim for maiden win
The PV Sindhu-led Chennai Smashers went close in their opening PBL-2 tie against the Hyderabad Hunters but ultimately went down narrowly, 3-4. This time, they are meeting the other winner of Day 1 – the Bengaluru Blasters.
Given the competitive game they produced against the Hyderabad Hunters in the inaugural tie, the Smashers should count their chances. They have the Rio Olympic silver medallist Sindhu in their ranks and that should be good enough reason for them to feel confident.
The 21-year-old did take a game off Marin in her first match, showing flashes of her sizzling form. There is no doubt that she is the hot favourite against the Blasters’ 19th ranked Cheung Ngan Yi.
There’s Chris and Gabrielle Adcock as well in the yellow brigade. The World No. 8 pair won their mixed doubles encounter in their last match with consummate ease and there is no reason why there should be an aberration this time.
It is the men’s doubles and the men’s singles sections where things could become pretty interesting. While the Blasters have the World No. 3 Viktor Axelsen, the Smashers will be headed by the Denmark Open champion Tanongsak S.
Sourabh Verma will most likely be the second singles player for the Blasters. The Chinese Taipei Masters winner put up an impressive display against the World No. 4 Son Wan Ho before going down in three games. He and the Smashers’ Tommy Sugiarto are tied at one win apiece in their head-to-head record which is why it is hard to pick a winner.
Sung Ji Hyun is the biggest star for the Mumbai Rockets
The Mumbai Rockets will be banking on their biggest star, women’s singles World No. 3 Sung Ji Hyun to lead them to victory. In men’s singles, the India No. 2 and No. 3 men’s singles stars Ajay Jayaram and HS Prannoy will be joining hands for their team.
However, they will have their task cut out as the Delhi Acers have two of the strongest men’s singles players – World No. 2 Jan O Jorgensen and World No. 4 Son Wan Ho.
It will thus boil down to the doubles action to decide the outcome of this tie.