Preview: After 22 days of action, it is time for the finals of the Premier Badminton League 2018. After league games and knock-outs, the league is down to two teams who will be featuring in their maiden final.
The Hyderabad Hunters led by former World No 1 and Olympic champion Carolina Marin will go up against the Bengaluru Blasters side led by World No 1 Viktor Axelsen.
Both teams have had contrasting paths into the finals.
Image Courtesy: Twitter @PBLIndiaLive
The Hunters beat Delhi Smashers comprehensively 3-0 in their semi-final tie to book their berth, while Bengaluru Blasters had to labour past tournament debutants Ahmedabad Smash Masters 4-3 with the final mixed doubles match becoming the all-important tie.
The Hunters' road to final was a roller-coaster of sorts where after a rollicking start against the North Eastern Warriors, they lost to Ahmedabad Smash Masters in a close encounter but were completely outplayed in the subsequent group clash against Delhi Dashers.
After that defeat against the Dashers, the Hunters switched gears and completely annihilated their next two opponents Awadhe Warriors and Bengaluru Blasters. They continued their unbeaten run in the semi-final against Delhi Dashers to reach the final.
The Blasters won their first two matches against Delhi Dashers and Mumbai Rockets, but lost their following clashes against the Warriors, Chennai Smashers and the Hunters. The losses against Warriors and Smashers were very close games, similar to their semi-final encoutner against Ahmedabad Smaash Masters where they ended up on the right side.
In the previous encounter between the two finalists, the Hunters had completely decimated the Blasters and the Carolina Marin side boasting of names like B Sai Praneeth, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy will hope to have a repeat of the performance against the Blasters side comprising players like Sikki Reddy, Chong Wei Feng and led by Axelsen.
Updated Date: Jan 14, 2018 22:27 PM