After the Bengaluru Raptors reached the final on Friday night, the second semi-final of the Premier Badminton League Season 4 (PBL 2018-19) will be contested by the Hyderabad Hunters and the Mumbai Rockets at the Kanteerava Indoor Stadium in Bengaluru on Saturday.
While the Hunters are the second-placed team in the PBL 2018-19 standings, the Rockets finished their league stage campaign in the fourth place. The Hunters also have the advantage of winning the title in the last season. In contrast, the Rockets reached the final twice but could never taste glory.
The Hunters will be led by the BWF World Tour Finals champion PV Sindhu. With the Rockets not having any top-20 shuttler in women's singles in their squad, the World No. 3 will be the overwhelming favourite to win her match.
The Rockets will, however, pose a serious threat for the Hunters in the men's singles department. With the BWF World Tour Finals semi-finalist Sameer Verma and World No. 18 Anders Antonsen in the squad, the Rockets have looked very strong so far.
Having said that, the World No. 12 Verma trails the 35th ranked Mark Caljouw of the Hunters 0-1 in their head-to-head record on the BWF circuit. And that could be a slight cause of concern. Verma needs to ensure that the Dutchman doesn't get to play his naturally aggressive game.
Even though Antonsen did beat Lee Hyun Il in their last showdown on the BWF World Tour, the Korean has a 3-1 edge over the young Dane. Antonsen needs to show the same kind of maturity that he displayed in his upset victory over World No. 5 Son Wan Ho.
The Rockets should have a slight advantage in doubles with the legendary Lee Yong Dae being a part of the squad. Lee and Kim Gi Jung would look to beat the Hyderabad combine of Bodin Isara and Kim Sa Rang.
In mixed doubles too, Mumbai can harbour hopes of getting a win. Pia Zebadiah played a crucial role to bring the title to the Hunters last season. In an interesting face-off with her former team, the Indonesian will hope to help the Rockets this time alongside Kim Gi Jung when they take on Kim Sa Rang and Eom Hye Won.
Here’s all the information you need to know about the PBL encounter:
Tournament name: Premier Badminton League Season 4
Venue: Kanteerava Indoor Stadium, Bengaluru
Date: Saturday, January 12, 2019
Time: 7 pm IST
Head-to-head: Mumbai Rockets lead 3-0
Channel: Star Sports 1, Star Sports 1 HD
Live streaming: hotstar.com