After an emphatic 3-0 win registered by the Hyderabad Hunters over former champions Delhi Dashers in the first semi-final of the Premier Badminton League (PBL) 2018, it is time to focus on the second semi-final that is scheduled to be held at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium in Hyderabad on Saturday. The Ahmedabad Smash Masters meet the Bengaluru Blasters in what should be an absolutely star-studded affair.
While the men's singles World No. 1 Viktor Axelsen is the biggest star in the Bengaluru squad, the Smash Masters' challenge is spearheaded by the women's singles No. 1 Tai Tzu Ying. Ahmedabad also have the irrepressible HS Prannoy, who built a 10-match winning streak at this league until it was snapped by the Chennai Smashers' Tanongsak.
And what a match it will be between Axelsen and Prannoy! The Dane has looked slightly inconsistent in his last couple of outings, but he definitely regrouped for a win. Odds will be heavily stacked in favour of the numero uno for the win, which will increase pressure on the rest of the members of both the teams to perform.
The Ahmedabad franchise looks well set to get the women's singles win. But other than that, it is hard to predict who will come through in the remainder of the matches.
A lot will depend on the doubles pairs. Mathias Boe and Kim Sa Rang of Bengaluru have struggled of late. In contrast, Sikki Reddy has been very reliable in mixed doubles, but then again Ahmedabad have the services of the legendary Kamilla Rytter Juhl, who can pull off a win.
This tie has the potential to go to the wire unlike the first semi-final, which was decided in three matches. A cracker of a contest is surely awaiting badminton fans tonight.
Here is all the information you need to know
Tournament name: Premier Badminton League Season 3
Venue: Gachibowli Indoor Stadium, Hyderabad
Date: Saturday, January 13, 2018
Time: Ahmedabad Smash Masters vs Bengaluru Blasters at 7pm IST
Channel: Star Sports 1/Star Sports 1 HD
Livestream information: Star Sports Hotstar
Bengaluru Blasters - Viktor Axelsen, Chong Wei Feng, Subhankar Dey, Kirsty Gilmour, Rituparna Das, Mathias Boe, Manu Attri, Kim Sa Rang, N Sikki Reddy, Sanjana Santosh.
Ahmedabad Smash Masters - HS Prannoy, Sourabh Verma, Siril Verma, Tai Tzu Ying, Sri Krishna Priya Kudaravalli, Law Cheuk Him, Lee Chun Hei Reginald, K Nandagopal, Kamilla Rytter Juhl, Stefani Stoeva.