Today’s clash between Lucknow’s Awadhe Warriors and Bangalore’s Banga Beats in the Vodafone Indian Badminton League (IBL) is set to be a keenly fought contest.
After losing their first round matches, both teams would be looking to change their fortunes when they slug it out at the Babu Banarsi Das UP Badminton Academy.
Banga Beats’ P Kashyap, who lost to Mumbai Masters’ Vladimir Ivanov (Russia) in the last match, will look to redeem himself in the first men’s singles tie against either Guru Sai Dutt or K Srikanth — whoever the Awadhe Warriors’ coach Hafiz Hashim decides to send. Kashyap should have no problem in winning this match due to his vast experience.
The second men’s singles should be a cakewalk for Banga Beats’ Hu Yun. Although the Hong Kong shuttler lost to Mumbai’s Marc Zwiebler (Germany) a couple of days ago, the World No 6 should be able to put his rich experience to good use against any of the Warriors players.
Warriors coach Hashim, a former All England champion from Malaysia, said: “We will try our best to win at least one of the singles matches. We know that both Kashyap and Hu Yun have the experience, but our players are young and quick and that will test their opponents. We are also playing at home which should be an advantage.”
In the ladies singles, the sensational PV Sindhu of Awadhe Warriors is the favourite to clinch the tie against Tai Tzu Ying (Chinese Taipei) of Banga Beats.
Though Tai, ranked seventh in the world, leads 2-1 against Sindhu in their head-to-head clash, the Hyderabadi had the last laugh when they last met at the Indian Super Series in 2012. Sindhu, who earlier this week broke into the World Top 10, will also get the backing of the home crowd.
“I have my tactics in place and I’m looking forward to this contest,” said Arjuna awardee Sindhu, who recently won a historic bronze at the World Championships in Guangzhou. However, the main highlight of today’s match would be the men’s doubles tie where regular partners Carsten Mogensen (Banga Beats) and Mathias Boe (Awadhe Warriors) of Denmark would be pitted against each other.
It would be interesting to see how the Denmark duo, who won the silver medal at both the 2012 London Olympics as well as the recent World Championships, exploit each other’s weaknesses.
However, given the fact that Boe’s partner Markis Kido is a former Olympic and World Champion could tilt the balance in the Warriors’ favour. Short and stocky, Kido has a great quality of converting defense into attack. Akshay Dewalkar, who is relatively fast and covers the net well, may create some problems with his partner Mogensen. But the experience and speed should help the Warriors clinch this one.
Overall, Awadhe Warriors, riding on the crowd support, should win 3-2.
The writer is a former India player