With the Olympic Year having ticked in, the badminton season gets a fresh new lease early in the month with the much-awaited fifth season of Premier Badminton League (PBL) is slated to kick off on January 20. The 21-day badminton extravaganza is expected to draw sweeping attention as the world’s top shuttlers will be seen battling it out for the coveted title.
Chennai is set to be the ground zero beaming with scintillating action from the opening day of the competition, after which the league moves to Lucknow on January 25, followed by the rest of badminton extravaganza staged in Hyderabad.
Brace Yourself Up For The Biggest Showdown
As the PBL returns to Chennai after two years, badminton lovers in the city would be blessed to watch Tai’s wizardry when the Raptors square off against the North East Warriors on January 21. With Chennai Superstarz and Bengaluru Raptors meeting in the same leg, it would be interesting to see Lakshya Sen and Sai Praneeth going head to head after their fabulous results last year. However, shouldering Indian hopes at the big-ticket event, P V Sindhu will be determined to step up to the occasion to prove their mettle ahead of the Olympics.
While P V Sindhu picked the high-voltage World Championships quarter-final match between her and former World No. 1, Tai Tzu Ying, as her best match of 2019, it will be a repeat of that marquee clash when the two meet each other on January 31. The much-awaited showdown comes in the third leg in Hyderabad when Sindhu’s Hunters lock horns with Tai’s Bengaluru Raptors. With the two representing the champion teams of the last two editions, there is no doubt that a highly exciting affair is on the cards.
While Sindhu will be the star attraction for former champions Hyderabad Hunters, all eyes will be on Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Lakshya Sen from the Chennai franchise, both of whom had stellar seasons last year.
The Best Vs The Best
The 2014 Commonwealth Games Champion Parupalli Kashyap will be leading the charge of two-time runners-up Mumbai Rockets when they lock horns with Sai Praneeth’s Bengaluru Raptors in Hyderabad on February 2, enabling fans to see an exhilarating match between two of India’s best men’s singles shuttlers. Two of the biggest badminton stars of India, Kidambi Srikanth and Saina Nehwal will not be a part of the league this year after they decided to rest to prepare for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
Clash Between Olympians
The fifth edition of the most popular badminton league in the world will see a competition of the highest level as five Olympic medallists and 15 World Championships medallists will look to mesmerise fans with a Hyderabad clash between former Olympic champions Hendra Setiawan of Pune 7 Aces and Lee Yong Dae of North East Warriors being the top draw.
Blockbuster? Not Any Less...
Another marquee clash that has all the ingredients to be a blockbuster is the one between Sindhu and former India Open champion Beiwen Zhang when the Hunters and Awadhe Warriors take on each other on Republic Day in Lucknow. After the enthralling final, the two played at the India Open in 2018, where Zhang saved match points to deny Sindhu the title, this match is not to be missed.