Sindhu and Marin clash in PBL opener

Hyderabad Hunters, defending champion, will take on debutant Pune 7 Aces in the opening match of the Premier Badminton League 2018.

In the last edition, Carolina Marin played for Hyderabad Hunters.   -  Ritu Raj Konwar

Hyderabad Hunters, defending champion, will take on debutant Pune 7 Aces in the opening match of the Vodafone Premier Badminton League 2018 on Saturday.

Not much of experience in the tournament, but Pune 7 Aces is bolstered by having Olympic champion Carolina Marin in its ranks. Players lined up by Hyderabad includes - P.V. Sindhu, a fierce rival of Marin on the court. However, the rivalry between both of them forms the backdrop for a thrilling contest at the NSCI indoor stadium.

Apart from Marin, Ajay Jayaram, French ace Bruce Leverdez will lead the charge in men’s singles while the doubles specialists will be Mathias Boe (Denmark) and Vladimir Ivanov (Russia) for Pune. The latter was part of the winning Hyderabad outfit last season, adding another aspect to the opener.

Matches are best of three games, 15 points per game and categories include men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles and mixed doubles. Teams can nominate one tie as the Trump Match. Nine teams will view for the champion purse of Rs 6 crore.

'Players will play with same intensity'

Saina Nehwal, who will turn out for North-East Warriors in season 4 of the Vodafone PBL said players will play with the same intensity in the tournament as much as they do in individual competitions. But she added: "The PBL is a team event, quite different from the other tournaments. But everyone gives 100 per cent for sure. As it is, it’s the end of the year, and so it can get to the body, but still players are there to fight it out. It’s not easy for all players, because team pressure is different from individual pressure and the PBL is one of the toughest tournaments and everyone gives his/her best."

Pune 7 Aces captain, Marin also agreed with Saina’s views and said: "In this tournament we have to think about the team, not ourselves. Every player will have to think about the team."