In less than 48 hours, the second edition of India’s rechristened Premier Badminton League gets underway at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium, Hyderabad. Just as it happened last year in Mumbai, India’s most coveted Badminton League will be preceded by an opening ceremony, befitting the occasion. After that, the first tie will feature hosts Hyderabad Hunters playing against Chennai Smashers. That means on the very first day of the League, fans at Hyderabad will be treated to seeing India’s PV Sindhu of Chennai Smashers taking on Spain’s World and Olympic Champion Carolina Marin of Hyderabad Hunters. Despite the presence of the great Lee Chong Wei, Hyderabad had failed to enter the semifinals last year but Marin’s presence could make a decisive difference for them this time round. The organizers are excited by the response from international stars this year and six franchises have attracted the who’s who from the world of badminton. The prize purse has been flattened to 60 million rupees this year.
There has been no change in the format for the 2017 Premier Badminton League from last year and all six teams will engage themselves in 5 round-robin ties with every other team in the league phase. Each tie will comprise of 5 matches that include two men’s singles and three other matches; women’s singles, women’s doubles, men’s doubles and mixed doubles. Each match will be played on best-of-three in a 15-game format with sudden death at 14-14. Each team will be entitled to a Trump match previously shared with the tournament committee along with the other four matches. Victory in the Trump match will add a bonus point to the teams’ points tally but the loss will result in a negative point. However, a team cannot play the same player more than twice in trump matches at league stage and more than once in knock-outs. Beside Tromp-Matches, win in other matches will account for 1 point and loss zero. After the league-phase ends, top four teams will proceed to the semifinals. Lots will be drawn afterwards to decide the semifinal line-up, where the top two teams will be placed at the top and bottom and the draw will decide which of remaining two teams play will the first and fourth teams. If two teams finish with the same number of points; then the one with better head-to-head show will be preferred.
The Hyderabad action will see four ties over two days. On January 1, besides the hosts playing against Chennai Smashers, the other tie will involve Bengaluru Blasters and Delhi Acers. On January 2, Hyderabad will play against the Saina Nehwal led Awadhe Warriors of Lucknow. The scene will then shift to Mumbai and on January 3, Bengaluru Blasters will take on Chennai Smashers while Delhi Acers will play against Mumbai Rockets. On January 4 at Mumbai, Hyderabad Hunters will play against Mumbai Rockets before the players fly away to Lucknow, where Awadhe Warriors take on Delhi Acers on January 5 and next day Awadhe play against Mumbai.
From January 7, Bangalore’s Koramangala Indoor stadium will serve as home venues for Bangalore Blasters and Chennai Smashers, in the absence of adequate facilities at Chennai. On day 1, Bangalore play against Hyderabad and in two ties next day on January 8, Delhi take on Chennai and Bangalore will play against Mumbai. On January 9, Lucknow and Bangalore will play against each other while Mumbai Rockets and Chennai Smashers meet on January 10.
After the last league game at Bangalore on January 11, featuring Lucknow and Chennai, national capital Delhi will host matches on the last three days of 2017 PBL. Once PBL’s last league tie between Delhi and Hyderabad is concluded on January 12, the next two days will see the semifinal and final matches. The champion team will be decided on January 14, the last day of 2017 Premier Badminton League.