Awadhe take on Mumbai in PBL opener

Saina Nehwal’s team Awadhe Warriors take on Mumbai Rockets in the opening match of the Premier Badminton League in Mumbai on January 2 next year as the lucrative event resumes after a two-year gap. Six franchises will vie for top honours in five cities — Delhi, Lucknow, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru — in the tournament which will run till January 17.

Saina Nehwal will represent Awadhe Warriors in the upcoming Premier Badminton League.   -  Getty Images

Saina Nehwal’s team Awadhe Warriors take on Mumbai Rockets in the opening match of the Premier Badminton League in Mumbai on January 2 next year as the lucrative event resumes after a two-year gap. Six franchises will vie for top honours in five cities — Delhi, Lucknow, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru — in the tournament which will run till January 17.

The PBL matches will not be held in Chennai due to the recent flood, which delayed the preparation for the event. The home matches of Chennai Smashers will be played at Lucknow and Hyderabad venues. The final will be held here. While all eyes will be on world number two Nehwal who will feature for Lucknow-based Awadhe Warriors, it will be interesting to see the strategies that Mumbai Rockets adopt to counter her.

With the new rule of the ‘Trump Match’ set to be introduced in the league, other franchises will keep a check on how both the teams use it to their advantage on the first day.

Commenting on the schedule of the league, Badminton Association of India President and PBL Chairman Akhilesh Das Gupta said, “This is a happy moment for each one of us as we are just around the corner for the start to the Premier Badminton League. Each day will be exciting and this we have ensured by the new Format & Rules that we have introduced.

“What has boosted us is the enthusiasm that the franchisees are showing towards the ‘Trump Match’ rule. Post PBL Auction, all the players are gearing up for one of the most competitive leagues in the world. With the release of the schedule, teams will start working on their strategies and game-plans.”