PBL 3 is bigger and better

The third season of the Premier Badminton League will have eight teams, compared to the six in the first two seasons.

Premier Badminton League third season is 23 days long, starting on December 23 and concluding on January 14, 2018.   -  PBL

P. V. Sindhu’s Chennai Smashers will take on Saina Nehwal’s Awadhe Warriors in the opening match of the third edition of Vodafone Premier Badminton League on December 23.

The first leg will take place in Guwahati, the home of new entrants North Eastern Warriors, who will face the might of Carolina Marin’s Hyderabad Hunters on the second day of the season.

The 23-day-long league has been carefully planned and scheduled in a way that only one tie is lined up for each day at prime time to give the players and teams enough time to recover for their next encounter.

“This is going to be an exciting edition of the PBL, the world’s biggest badminton league,” Atul Pandey, Managing Director, Sportzlive, said.

“It’s a longer tournament, with eight teams in fray. Virtually all the best players have signed up too, which makes it the one and only true world league in the country,” he added.

A bevy of top players, including men’s No. 1 Victor Axelson (Bengaluru Blasters) and women’s No.1 Tai Tzu-Ying (Ahmadabad Smash Masters), will be seen in action during this badminton extravaganza. After four days of intense battles in Guwahati, the bandwagon shifts to Delhi.

Delhi will see five ties, with the Delhi Dashers enjoying the benefit of playing two matches at home. They will hope to pick up maximum points against Bengaluru Blasters and Hyderabad Hunters to make it at least to the semifinals this year.

Read: Hyderabad will host the semi-finals and final

The next stop will be the ‘City of Nawabs’ Lucknow.

Victor Axelson’s Bengaluru Blasters will clash with San Wan-Ho’s Mumbai Rockets to ring in the New Year. Four ties have been slotted here, giving North Eastern Warriors and Hyderabad Hunters a solid four-day break.

The PBL will move to the warmer climes of Chennai on January 5 for the penultimate leg. The battles are expected to reach fever-pitch by then, with every team scrambling for points and a place in the knockout stage.

After an intense five-day stint, the players will shift to Hyderabad on January 10. Only two ties have been lined up here, with the Dashers meeting the Warriors and the Hunters taking on the Blasters.

The semifinals will take place on January 12 and 13 followed by the final, which will be held the very next day, on January 14.