In a battle of two debutant teams in the third edition of the Premier Badminton League (PBL) in Guwahati on Tuesday, the Ahmedabad Smash Masters should be the favourites to prevail over the North Eastern Warriors. The Ahmedabad franchise has been bolstered by the presence of the World No. 1 women’s singles player, Tai Tzu Ying and the reigning men’s singles Indian national champion, HS Prannoy.
Tai won as many as five Superseries titles this year, besides conquering the Badminton Asia Championships. The Smash Masters will be banking on the Chinese Taipei ace to bring forth the same guile and finesse that she has displayed all year to get so much success.
PBL3’s costliest player, Prannoy, who is at a career-high No. 10 in the world rankings, was at his ruthless best in the last season of the league. When the Kerala shuttler gets going, he pretty much does not fear anyone, something that he exhibited in ample amounts in Season 2 when he remained unbeaten.
And he rode on that momentum to notch up upset wins over Chen Long and Lee Chong Wei on his way to his first career Superseries semi-final at the Indonesia Open. And he repeated that feat in Paris at the French Open as well.
When Tai and Prannoy join hands, one expects nothing short of fireworks.
The pressure is thus on the home team tonight, especially because they are coming into this match on the back of a 2-5 loss to the Hyderabad Hunters. Ajay Jayaram is self-admittedly still recovering from his hamstring injury and isn’t at 100%
Despite that, he did show a lot of courage in his encounter against the Hunters’ Lee Hyun Il. If he can replicate that and get the better of Sourabh Verma, then his team might have a ray of hope.
In doubles too, they need to perform at their absolute best for the Smash Masters have one of the legends of the game -- Kamilla Rytter Juhl, who has medals from the World Championships as well as the Olympics.
Here is all the information you need to know
Tournament name: Premier Badminton League Season 3
Venue: Karmabir Nabin Chandra Bordoloi A.C. Indoor Stadium, Guwahati
Date: Tuesday, December 26, 2017
Ahmedabad Smash Masters vs North Eastern Warriors at 7.30pm IST
Channel: Star Sports 1/Star Sports 1 HD
Livestream information: Star Sports Hotstar
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.
North Eastern Warriors - Wang Tzu Wei, Ajay Jayaram, Pratul Joshi, Michelle Li, Ruthvika Shivani Gadde, Kim Gi Jung, Chirag Shetty, Shin Baek Cheol, Prajakta Sawant, Sanyogita Ghorpade.