Lucknow : Having lost their previous ties, Bengaluru Top Guns and Mumbai Rockets will look to bounce back when they lock horns in their second tie of the Premier Badminton League here today. The Top Guns will expect Kidambi Srikanth to give them the required impetus for the team to bounce back as he is riding high on confidence after beating two-time Olympic silver medallist Lee Chong Wei last night. Though Srikanth is the higher ranked player at World No. 9 than Prannoy, who is ranked 20, both are touted to be strong Olympic hopefuls for India in the men’s singles category. Srikanth is confident of leading his team to victory. “This being an Olympic year, there is always sharing of ideas and experience between your fellow competitors which happens when you respect and admire each other’s game. Having trained with Prannoy on a regular basis, sharing ways to improve your game is definitely helpful when you are looking to compete in the Olympics and it helps that we are all at the same level in terms of competition.”
Coach Arvind Bhat is still proud of his players’ performances. “Two of our fixtures against Hyderabad went to the deciding set while the other 3 fixtures showed the potential of our players to take opponents close. We need to work harder on converting those close finishes into wins. “The team has performed exceptionally well but unfortunately we fell short. The Trump Games did set us back the last time but our performances were definitely up to the mark,” he added. Having enthralled everyone with a powerful 290 kmph serve, Suo Di will look forward to face off against fellow Chinese player Han Li, who has displayed nerves of steel for the Rockets in their previous match. The two women have a long history of training with each other back in their home country of China. Bengaluru will have to be careful about who they pick to play against Guru Sai Dutt — Sameer Verma or Anand Pawar. Mumbai Rockets, placed second in the league table, will miss services of their Mixed Doubles’ specialist Kamilla Juhl due to international commitments.
Top Guns will look to take advantage of her absence in the doubles category with the services of their Malaysian mavericks Hoon Thien How and Khim Wah Lim who posed a serious threat to the World Number Four duo of Carsten Morgensen and Markis Kido at Mumbai in their first encounter, ending their night with a tight loss (15-13 9-15 14-15) in the men’s doubles fixture. “The Malaysian pairing has been superb. They are not only putting up some amazing performances but playing an intelligent game. The fact that they do not get intimidated by any opposition is also a very big advantage for us.
Lucknow: Hosts Awadhe Warriors came back well from their loss in the opening encounter of the Premier Badminton League (PBL) to drub Delhi Acers 4-3 at the Babu Banarasi Das Indoor Stadium here on Monday. The Saina Nehwal-led Warriors had lost to Mumbai Rockets in the PBL opener on Saturday, but came back strongly to defeat the Acers in what was their first match of the six-team tournament.