PBL 2018-19: New-look Bengaluru Raptors set to take league by storm with acquisition of Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth
Last season's finalists, the Bengaluru Raptors are all set to aim the crown with a strong lineup. With ace Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth spearheading the attack on court, the team will have a lot more firepower.
The Bengaluru Raptors will kick-start the season opener on 28 December in Hyderabad against Ahmedabad Smash Masters. The Bengaluru team were the runners-up last season and didn't play at home. This time around, in season 4 of the Premier Badminton League, Bengaluru is set to host 8 days of action including the semi-finals and finals.
Team and Player Profiles
Owned by the Matrix Badminton Teamworks Pvt Ltd, the Bengaluru franchise will be donning a new look for the 4th edition of the Premier Badminton League (PBL) after being rechristened as the Bengaluru Raptors. Finalists of the previous season, the Raptors are all set to aim for the crown with a strong lineup on the singles and the doubles department. With ace Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth spearheading the attack on court, the team will have a lot more firepower this time around.
Kidambi Srikanth (Icon): A veteran in PBL having represented the Awadhe Warriors in the past two editions, Kidambi Srikanth’s addition will bring in a lot of experience to the squad. Srikanth has enjoyed a successful 2018 that saw him win the silver at the Gold Coast CWG.
Sai Praneeth (Men's Singles): A part of the PBL3 winning Hyderabad Hunters squad, dynamic singles shuttler Sai Praneeth will ply his trade for the Bengaluru Raptors in the upcoming edition. Praneeth is the fourth Indian to win a Superseries title after Saina Nehwal, P.V.Sindhu and Kidambi and is a hardworking athlete who relies on tact and control.
Nygun Tien Minh (Men's Singles): 4-times Southeast Asian Games bronze medalist, Vietnam’s Nygun Tien Minh will make his debut in the league. Renowned for his agility and swiftness on the court, Nygun also possesses deft stroke play and has a rich repertoire of tricks up his sleeves. With Srikanth and Praneeth in the lineup, Nygun’s addition makes Bangalore a force to reckon with.
Vu Thi Thrang (Women's Singles): Vu Thi Thrang is yet another Vietnamese shuttler in the Bangalore ranks and is the spouse of fellow Olympian and Raptors teammate Nygun Tien Minh. A bronze medallist at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games, the PBL debutant could add another dimension to their challenge in the Women's singles.
Hendra Setiawan (Men's Doubles)
With a rich pool of laurels in his kitty, Indonesia’s Hendra Setiawan is amongst the greatest and leading doubles players in the world. 2008 Beijing Olympics gold winner and a three-time World Championship winner, the Indonesian World No. 9 has seen more than his fair share of success. Having made is PBL debut last year for the Awadhe Warriors, Setiawan is familiar to the Indian conditions and will once again try and live up to his lofty standards when he takes the court for the Bengaluru Raptors in PBL 4.
Lauren Smith (Mixed Doubles)
With three Commonwealth Games silver medals, Lauren Smith is one of the highly rated shuttlers who will be making their debut in the Premier Badminton League in the upcoming 4th season. The English have been in sublime form this year winning the Scottish Open (XD), Dutch Open (XD), Czech Open (WD), and the Canada Open (XD). Also with her mixed doubles partner Marcus Ellis in the Bengaluru Raptors lineup, the duo will be a lethal opponent to face off against.
Marcus Ellis (Men's Doubles)
Winner of the Rio 2016 Olympics bronze medal and 2018 CWG gold medal, Marcus Ellis is the star doubles attraction in the Raptors squad. With an illustrious career ever since his foray, the English shuttler has heralded an international repute and looks confident to guide the Bengaluru squad to their maiden PBL title.
Mohammad Ahsan (Men's Doubles)
Indonesia’s Mohammad Ahsan is yet another shuttler who will be making his foray for the first time in the PBL. Two-time World Championship gold winner, Ahsan is renowned for his deceptive stroke-play and it will be an intriguing contest to watch the World No 9 take forward the Bengaluru Raptors mantle.L.
Mithun Manjunath (Men's Singles)
Young shuttler Mithun Manjunath has made a swift climb up the ranks and turned eyes winning two back to back Senior Ranking tournaments earlier this year. He continued the fine form reaching the semi-final stage of the Vietnam Open and the Russian Open.
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