New Delhi, November 27: The third edition of the Premier Badminton League opens with a grudge match, with PV Sindhu's Chennai Smashers taking on Saina Nehwal's Awadhe Warriors on December 23.
The first leg will take place in new entrants North Eastern Warriors' hometown, Guwahati, who enter the arena on the very second day to face the might of Carolina Marin's Hyderabad Hunters.
Mark your 🗓. The fixtures are out!— PBL India (@PBLIndiaLive) November 27, 2017
The best shuttlers in the world will be coming to India. Get ready for an action-packed season of the Vodafone Premier Badminton League! 🏸 #PBLSeason3 pic.twitter.com/o50rdJdvVf
The 23-day long league has carefully been laid out, with only tie lined up each day at prime time to give the players and teams enough time to recover for their next encounter.
"This is going to be an exciting edition of the PBL, the world's biggest badminton league," Atul Pandey, managing director, Sportzlive said. "It's a longer tournament, with eight teams in fray. Virtually all the best players have signed up too, which makes it the one and only true world league in the country," he added.
#NorthEasternWarriors gets ready for @PBLIndiaLive . We have roped in top 10 international players in order to raise the standard of young talents of the region, says Bamang Tago, CEO of North Eastern Warriors pic.twitter.com/BF663FYTg1— NE Warriors (@NEShuttlers) November 27, 2017
A bevy of top players, including men's No 1 Victor Axelson (Bengaluru Blasters) and women's No 1 Tai Tzu-Ying (Ahmadabad Smash Masters), will be seen in action during this badminton extravaganza.
The fast growing army of shuttle fans the in the country can hope to see world-class fare from close quarters, many of them in their own cities.
After four days of intense battles in Guwahati, the bandwagon shifts to Delhi.
Delhi will see five ties, with the Delhi Dashers enjoying the benefit of playing two matches at home. They will hope to pick up maximum points against Bengaluru Blasters and Hyderabad Hunters to make it at least to the semifinals this year.
Why isn't there a match in Bangalore !?!!!!!??😢😢— Vishakha (@Vishakha1909) November 27, 2017
The next stop will be Lucknow. Victor Axelson's Bengaluru Blasters will clash with San Wan-Ho's Mumbai Rockets to ring in the New Year. Four ties have been slotted here, giving North Eastern Warriors and Hyderabad Hunters a solid four-day break.
The PBL will move to the warmer climes of Chennai on January 5 for the penultimate leg. The battles are expected to reach fever-pitch by then, with every team scrambling for points and a place in the knockout stage.
Mark the calendar. Save the date. 'Cos the #Hunters are coming to town. Check-out the #HyderabadHunters league stage schedule & match-ups for #PBLSeason3— HyderabadHunters (@Hyd_Hunters) November 27, 2017
Come on #HyderaBADDIES let's #JoinTheRoar#HuntersArmy #OnTheProwl #CheerTheHunters pic.twitter.com/fi8WuzjmzT
After an intense five-day stint, the players will shift to Hyderabad on January 10. Only two ties have been lined up here, with the Dashers meeting the Warriors and the Hunters the Blasters.
The semifinals will take place on January 12 and 13 followed by the final, which will be held the very next day, on January 14.
There won't be any matches in Bengaluru this time though. The PBL had to shift its matches to the Koramangala Indoor Stadium last year instead of the preferred Sree Kanteerava Indoor Stadium as the latter venue was being renovated.
The matches will be telecast on Star Sports HD 1 and Star Sports 1 and streamed on Hot Star. Tickets will be available on BookmyShow.