Hyderabad: Tommy Sugiarto's heart-stopping 15-14 decider-point victory on Thursday over former world no.1 Lee Chong Wei has been a major talking point of the Premier Badminton League (PBL), for it has meant that the Delhi Acers' player has remained unbeaten after three matches, while the 33 year old Malaysian marquee player for Hyderabad Hunters is sensationally winless after two outings.
Lee Chong Wei
That state of affairs is unlikely to last long, given Lee’s fierce pride in his playing abilities, and also because he is due to leave for home after Hyderabad’s second home match (their fourth over-all) on Sunday.
On Saturday, against the likes of Thailand’s Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk, Sai Praneeth or Saurabh Varma that form the men’s singles challenge of Awadhe Warriors, Lee will have to shake off the pain of defeat at the hands of Sugiarto and Kidambi Srikanth in his previous encounters, and come out spitting venom.
Most would fancy Lee to pull off the match against any of the three Awadhe players, but Parupalli Kashyap’s patchy form – one win and one loss in two outings – would inhibit punters from putting their shirt on him against either Praneeth or Tanongsak.
If the rival sides split points in the two men’s singles, Awadhe can rely on world no. 2 Saina Nehwal, to take them through to a trump victory against Thailand’s Supanida Katethong, despite the Thai junior looking good on Thursday against P C Thulasi.
That leaves the two paired events; and it is here that the toss of a coin could produce the likely winners. If the stocky Indonesian powerhouse Markis Kido and Denmark’s Carsten Mogensen are pitted against Awadhe’s Cai Yun and Bodin Issara, the crowds at the Gachibowli Stadium will get their money’s worth.
Kido may also be called upon to do mixed doubles duty with Jwala Gutta after the Hyderabad pair’s impressive performance against the Delhi Acers’ Akshay Dewalkar and Gabrielle Adcock on Thursday. Their Awadhe rivals, likely to be Thailand’s Bodin and Denmark’s Christinna Pedersen, should match them stroke for stroke.
If only thanks to the presence of Saina and Kido, the Awadhe Warriors would appear to have a slight edge over the home team, in what should be an edge-of-the-seat entertainer.