Hyderabad Hotshots hold edge, but Awadhe Warriors set to battle
Hyderabad Hotshots and Awadhe Warriors have reached the final of the world's most expensive badminton tournament with an identical 3-2 win-loss record in the league.
The Hotshots topped the standings while Awadhe were only a point behind. Exactly a fortnight back, when the two teams met in Delhi, the Hotshots beat the Warriors 3-2 — with the World No 4 Saina beating PV Sindhu in straight games.
On Thursday, the Warriors’ men’s singles players K Srikanth and RMV Gurusaidutt were at their best overpowering Mumbai Masters 3-2 in the semi-final. The Warriors’ turnaround began here when they outplayed Krrish Delhi Smashers 4-1 and have never looked back since.
Sindhu lost her first two IBL women’s singles matches to Saina and Carolina Marin of the Banga Beats. But the teenager beat big names like Juliane Schenk and Tine Baun.
Awadhe’s trump card has been 2008 Beijing Olympics gold medallist Markis Kido. The Indonesian has joined hands with 2012 London Olympics silver medallist Mathias Boe to turn their combine into a feared one. Also, Warriors’ last three victories have been decided in the final mixed doubles rubber where Kido has formed a superb partnership with his sister Pia Bernadeth, and have won all three matches.
For Hyderabad, Saina has maintained a 100 percent win record. In the men’s singles, Ajay Jayaram and Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk have done well by pulling off upset wins. However, it will be interesting to see if the Hotshots have reserved the best for the final. Former Olympic and World Champion Taufik Hidayat has played only one match, which he lost, but the Indonesian great can beat the best.
Hyderabad’s men’s doubles Malaysian duo of Goh V Shem and Lim Khim Wah have also been in great form, though they lost to Boe and Kido in New Delhi.
The Hotshots could surprise anyone with their mixed doubles fixture as they did in Hyderabad in the semi-final on Wednesday. Instead of Pradnya Gadre-Tarun Kona, Saina was paired with Goh to take on the strong combine of Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Ashwini Ponnappa.
However, the tie ended with the third match and a chance to see Saina in mixed doubles action was missed.