Tuesday, Jan 23, 2018 | Last Update : 05:17 PM IST
Saina Nehwal’s Awadhe Warriors became the first team to enter the last four stage of the PBL.
New Delhi: The Premier Badminton League will reach its final stages of Season Two when the Delhi leg begins at the Siri Fort Stadium here on Thursday. Defending champions Delhi Aces, who have failed to recreate the magic this year and are already out of contention, will aim to salvage some pride when they face in-form Hyderabad Hunters in the last league match of the season.
The semi-finals are slated for Friday. Saina Nehwal’s Awadhe Warriors became the first team to enter the last four stage of the PBL. Chennai Smashers and Mumbai Rockets were the others to join Warriors in the semi-finals.
The former world no.1 showed the champion material she is made of with a brilliant comeback from a game down to hand Awadhe Warriors a 4-3 triumph over the Bengaluru Blasters and the semis berth on Monday. With Ajay Jayaram and H.S. Prannoy in the side, table toppers Mumbai Rockets have emerged firm favourites for the title. Thursday’s league tie is a do-or-die situation for Hyderabad as they will need a win to make sure of the fourth and last spot in the semi-finals. In Olympic gold medallist Carolina Marin, the Hunters could well have the decisive weapon.
Hyderabad will face a rejuvenated Delhi who registered their only victory of the season when they defeated Chennai Smashers 5-2 in their previous league engagement. Danish star Jan O. Jorgensen, who has been inconsistent for Delhi this season, showed glimpses of excellent form against Chennai when he recovered from a game down to defeat Chennai’s Tommy Sugiarto in the men’s singles.
Delhi’s other men’s singles player Son Wan Ho also roared back to form with a straight-games win over Chennai’s star player Parupalli Kashyap. Kashyap meanwhile, sounded confident ahead of the semis despite the loss to Delhi. “We don’t have any strategy going into the semi-final as we do not know whom we are playing. Right now my focus is on today’s match against Awadhe Warriors. The last league match is on Thursday and after that only we will got to know our opponents in the semis,” Kashyap said on Wednesday.