PBL 2020, Semi-final: Bengaluru Raptors vs Pune 7 Aces | Preview, where to watch, head to head and timings
After days of exhilarating league-stage matches, the four semifinalists of Premier Badminton League 2020 have been confirmed. While Chennai Superstarz, North Eastern Warriors and Pune 7 Aces made it through quite comfortably, Bengaluru Raptors left it till the very end and made the cut with a convincing 5-0 win over Awadhe Warriors in the final tie during the league stage.
Defending champions Bengaluru Raptors will be locking horns with the Pune 7 Aces in the second semifinal of PBL 2020. The league stage has witnessed a plethora of intense encounters and all the shuttlers will be looking to step it up a notch during the semifinal.
The Raptors' campaign has not at all been smooth sailing. Arvind Bhat's troops suffered identical 3-4 losses in their first two ties - against North Eastern Warriors and Chennai Superstarz respectively - both during the Chennai Leg. To make matters worse, Bengaluru lost to Pune 7 Aces, again by a 3-4 margin, in their first tie of the Lucknow leg.
Tai Tzu Ying and co. finally ended their losing spree by defeating PV Sindhu-led Hyderabad Hunters 3-0 in their fourth tie. This victory helped the defending champions regain confidence which was reflected in the scoreline of their remaining two league-stage ties.
Bengaluru Raptors decimated both Mumbai Rockets and Awadhe Warriors, with identical 5-0 scorelines, in their final two ties during the league stage. Brice Leverdez, Sai Praneeth and Tai Tzu Ying were instrumental in ensuring the massive turnaround of events for the Raptors.
After the initial three setbacks, the Raptors went on to win the next three ties and are a side that is looking virtually impossible to defeat now.
Pune 7 Aces, on the other hand, have been highly impressive and won five of their six league stage ties.
They defeated Mumbai Rockets 5-2 in Lucknow to kickstart their PBL 2020 campaign in style. They followed it up with a 4-3 win over Bengaluru Raptors and then another handsome 5-2 victory over Chennai Superstarz.
It was proving to be a fairytale run for Anand Pawar's troops but it was cut short with a highly concerning 0-5 loss to North Eastern Warriors. Only the Men's Doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Hendra Setiawan managed to register a win in that tie with all the other Pune shuttlers suffering losses in their respective matches.
However, Pune 7 Aces regrouped phenomenally well and were back to winning ways in their very next tie. They routed Awadhe Warriors 4-1 in their penultimate league tie before defeating Hyderabad Hunters 2-1 in a closely-contested battle.
Despite three wins and as many losses, Bengaluru finished on the 2nd position on the points table with 22 points while Pune 7 Aces were 4th with 20 points. The semifinal between the two is sure to light up the G. M. C. Balayogi SATS Indoor Stadium as both of them are in sublime form.
What happened when the two sides met during the league stage?
Pune 7 Aces defeated Bengaluru Raptors 4-3 in Tie 8 of PBL 2020. Japanese ace Kazumasa Sakai gave Pune the perfect start by defeating Ansal Yadav 15-14 15-9 in the first Men's Singles encounter.
The defending champions were back in business in the very next encounter as Sai Praneeth defeated Singapore's Kean Yew Loh 10-15, 15-7, 15-8. Bengaluru raced to a 3-1 lead as Tai Tzu Ying won the Raptors' trump match and routed Pune's Rituparna Das 15-3 15-9 in no time.
A scintillating display from Chirag Shetty and Hendra Setiawan leveled things again. Playing Pune's trump match, the Indo-Indonesian pair defeated Arun George and Rian Agung Suputro 15-14 15-3.
The tie was eventually decided by a high-octane Mixed Doubles encounter. 7 Aces' Chris and Gabby Adcock came back from behind to defeat the spirited Peng Soon Chan and Eom Hye Won 10-15 15-11 15-12 and complete the turnaround for Pune.
All-in-all, there were lots of fireworks when Bengaluru clashed with Pune 7 Aces during the league stage. The semifinal promises to be no different with each side promising to give stiff competition to the other.
The Women's Singles encounter will be a no-brainer with Tai Tzu Ying, who is undefeated in PBL 2020 so far and will surely be playing the trump, expected to emerge victorious against her counterpart yet again.
Both the Men's Singles encounters promise to be neck-and-neck and it is tough to choose the favorite in this category. Sai Praneeth, being the highest-ranked shuttler among the lot, will however have a slight edge. The ace Indian shuttler is ranked 11th in the World and is currently the top-ranked Indian Men's Singles player. He is also in splendid form currently.
From the Pune team, Kean Yew Loh is World Number 37 while Japan's Kazumasa Sakai is World Number 73. Bengaluru's Ansal Yadav, who is ranked 240th in the world, will have to punch above his weight in case he is given an opportunity. However, it is likely that the Raptors will stick with Brice Leverdez, the French International who is World Rank 39 and has broken the trump in the last 2 ties, for the semifinal match.
Chirag Shetty and Hendra Setiawan will be the favorites to win their Men's Doubles encounter and are likely to play the trump as well for the Pune team. However, the Mixed Doubles fixture will surely go down to the wire.
It will be extremely important for either side to pick their trump match strategically as it can be the deciding factor in the duel.
Here is all the information you need to know about day 20, Semi-Final 2 and the PBL 2020 Schedule:
Tie: Bengaluru Raptors vs Pune 7 Aces
Tournament: Premier Badminton League Season 5
Venue: G. M. C. Balayogi SATS Indoor Stadium, Hyderabad
Date: 8th February 2020
Time: 7:00 PM IST onwards
Head-to-head: Bengaluru Raptors 0 - 2 Pune 7 Aces
Where to watch the matches in India?
Bengaluru Raptors vs Pune 7 Aces will be telecast LIVE on Star Sports 1 and Star Sports 1 HD.
PBL Day 20 live stream details
Live Stream for PBL Day 20 will be available on Hotstar.com
Follow Sportskeeda to get the full PBL 2020 schedule, PBL Points table, latest news & updatesPublished 07 Feb 2020, 20:38 IST