It is the hour of reckoning for several individuals, including players and administrators, who blended together to serve a dizzy cocktail in the name...
Hyderabad: It is the hour of reckoning for several individuals, including players and administrators, who blended together to serve a dizzy cocktail in the name of Indian Badminton League (IBL). The romance with the newest and most exciting format of the sport came as a whiff of fresh air to the fans.
Super Saturday will mean that all roads will lead to NSCI's newly built air-conditioned indoor stadium in Mumbai when top contender Hyderabad Hotshots takes on the surprise finalist, Awadhe Warriors for what promises to be a potential cliff-hanger, at least on present form of the two Icon players who are eyeing the pot of gold. The Hotshots making the grade is not exactly surprising because it was a foregone conclusion. It is the Warriors’ tryst with destiny that comes as a refreshing development because they felled the more formidable Mumbai Masters while battling their way from the brink in the second semifinals.
The revised equations provide yet another opportunity for a showdown between the queen and the heir-apparent. If world number four Saina Nehwal is in devastating form having all her six matches, so is P V Sindhu. However, the odds will be strongly in favour of the Hotshots Icon player because she comes unbeaten while Sindhu will take to the courts with a heavy responsibility on her young shoulders.
For Saina to repeat the thrashing she gave on Independence Day, it will be of significance to her that the first men singles match verdict would not unnerve her temperament. She will hope for a flying start from Ajay Jayaram. Sindhu will hope to avenge the loss although it would need her to go the extra mile if she has to get the better of her more experienced opponent, who has been there and done that on umpteen occasions.
To the Hyderabadis, however, it hardly matters as to which team enters record books as the first IBL winner because either way the key player happens to be from the city. And that is charming aspect of the entire IBL in its inaugural issue. On paper, though, Hotshots begin with the marginal edge.
18 Feb 2020 3:57 AM GMT