Blasters eye strong show on home turf

Badminton Premier League : Bengaluru side takes on Hyderabad

 After a solid victory over defending champions Delhi Acers in their opening fixture, the Bengaluru Blasters suffered a demoralising 0-5 defeat at the hands of the Chennai Smashers in their second encounter of the Premier Badminton League season two.

Now, braced to make an impact on their home turf, the Blasters will take on a formidable Hyderabad Hunters at the Koramangala Indoor Stadium on Saturday.

Bengaluru head coach Arvind Bhat displayed an air of positivity and said the loss to the Smashers was now something of the past.

“We had two match points and had we taken it, we could have been second in the league. Match points can go either way so it doesn’t bother us. As a team we treated the game as a victory,” he said.

“We have a great set of players and we know that we are one of the best in the league. That is the confidence we carry into our home leg,” he added. 

The Hunters’ tournament record is much like the hosts having lost their second tie 0-5 to the Awadhe Warriors after beating the Smashers but they will be quietly confident with an armoury that boasts the likes of World No 2 and Olympic gold medal winner Carolina Marin, Rajiv Ouseph, B Sai Praneeth and talented youngster Sameer Verma.

Bhat stressed that his side could be really tested in the women’s singles clash that will, in all likelihood, see Marin pitted against Hong Kong’s Cheung Ngan Yi, who is 19th in the world rankings.

“The Marin clash is the one that will be a little hard for us especially considering the form she has been in. Apart from that we should be able to win the remaining four games,” he said.

The former India international also emphasised that the strength of his side will be the men’s doubles pairing of Ko Sung-Hyun and Yoo Yeon Seong. The duo will be up against the superior ranked Malaysian pairing of Tan Boon Heong and Tan Wee Kiong and Bhat also shed light on the fact that that could be his side’s pick for the trump match.

“The strength of our side is definitely our men’s doubles pair. Since a player or pair can be used as the trump only twice through the league phase, we need to strategise and play our cards right. We’ll take a call on that (trump match) tomorrow.”

Danish hotshot Viktor Axelsen, who is ranked third in men’s singles, is the Blasters’ star player and will be expected to have it relatively easy against the likes of Ouseph, Praneeth or Verma. There will also be local flavour in the form of the seasoned Ashwini Ponappa.

The league is scheduled to be played here till Wednesday and depending on availability, tickets will be available in the box office at the venue.

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