After 21 gruelling league stage ties, the four semifinalists of the Premier Badminton League 2020 have been decided. While North Eastern Warriors, Chennai Superstarz, and Pune 7 Aces qualified in advance, the defending Champions Bengaluru Raptors left it till their very last tie to make it through by securing a massive 5-0 win over Awadhe Warriors.
If the league stage has left you short of breath, then just imagine what the semifinals will be like. Two scintillating ties await us to decide who will play the summit clash of PBL 2020.
The first semifinal will be played between Chennai Superstarz and North Eastern Warriors. Both teams enjoyed a stellar run during the league stage. The Chennai-based franchise won four of their six ties. The team representing North East also emerged victorious in four of their six ties.
Edwin Iriawan's Warriors finished at the pole position in the points table with 22 points. While the Superstarz also had 22 points cumulatively but they finished on the third position as they won a less number of individual matches overall as compared to the Warriors and second-placed Bengaluru Raptors.
What happened when the two sides met during the league stage?
What is most interesting is that North Eastern Warriors and Chennai Superstarz played their last league tie against each other. In a highly entertaining battle, North Eastern eventually managed to secure a 4-3 win over the Chennai-based franchise.
The Warriors gave Kaushal Dharmamer an opportunity in this tie as they had already secured a place in the semifinals. In what was the first match of the tie, the 24-year-old did not disappoint and trounced young Sathish Kumar Karunakaran 15-3 15-11 in the Men's Singles encounter.
The Men's Doubles pair of Sumeeth Reddy and Dhruv Kapila played tremendously well to defeat Warriors' Bodin Isara and Krishna Prasad Garaga 15-13 15-14 and bring Chennai Superstarz back in the tie.
Kirsty Gilmour eased past Ashmita Chaliha in the Women's Singles battle by defeating her in straight games. This was Chennai's trump match. It helped them secure two points - and thereby put them in a commanding 3-1 lead in the tie.
However, Chennai's S. Shankar Muthuswamy was no match for the experienced Lee Cheuk Yiu. The Hong Kong International, who was playing the Warriors' trump match, defeated the Indian 15-8 15-11 and made things back to the square in the overall tie with the scoreline reading 3-3.
In the deciding encounter, Lee Yong Dae and Kim Ha Na were up against Dhruv Kapila and Sanjana Santosh in the Mixed Doubles match.
The Indian duo fought well but the South Korean pair showed their class by defeating them 15-11 15-9 in straight games. This win helped North Eastern Warriors seal a 4-3 win in the overall tie.
In the previous encounter between Chennai Superstarz and North Eastern Warriors, both teams gave opportunities to some of the untested and younger players in the squad. However, they will surely be playing the regulars during the all-important semifinal.
Canadian ace Michelle Li, who has won all four of her encounters in PBL 2020, will likely take on Scottish ace, Kirsty Gilmour. This Women's Singles encounter guarantees a lot of fireworks and will be the one to watch out for.
Indian ace Lakshya Sen is also set to be back in action. He was rested in the previous tie against North Eastern Warriors but will likely take on Lee Cheuk Yiu in what promises to be another thrilling battle. Lakshya has won four of his five encounters played so far but the Hong Kong shuttler has also been splendid throughout PBL 2020, registering five wins from his six encounters.
The probable Men's Doubles match between Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/Dhruv Kapila and Bodin Isara/K.P. Garaga is also set to be a close one.
All-in-all, the first semifinal of PBL 2020 just can not be missed with global superstars such as Michelle Li and rising Indian shuttler Lakshya Sen will be in action.
Here is all the information you need to know about day 19, Semi-Final 1 and the PBL 2020 Schedule:
Tie: Chennai Superstarz vs North Eastern Warriors
Tournament: Premier Badminton League Season 5
Venue: G. M. C. Balayogi SATS Indoor Stadium, Hyderabad
Date: 7th February 2020
Time: 7:00 PM IST onwards
Head-to-head: North Eastern Warriors 1 - 0 Chennai Superstarz
Where to watch the matches in India?
Chennai Superstarz vs North Eastern Warriors will be telecast LIVE on Star Sports 1 and Star Sports 1 HD.
PBL Day 19 live stream details
Live Stream for PBL Day 19 will be available on Hotstar.com
Follow Sportskeeda to get the full PBL 2020 schedule, PBL Points table, latest news & updatesPublished 07 Feb 2020, 12:34 IST