PBL all set to kick-off in style (Preview)

Mumbai, Jan 1 (IANS) Following a gap of over two years, the Indian Badminton League (IBL) re-christened as the Premier Badminton League (PBL), will kick-off with a glittering opening ceremony at the National Sports Club Of India here on Saturday.

Clouds of uncertainty were hovering over the event in October after partners Sporty Solutionz filed a petition against the Badminton Association of India (BAI) in the Delhi High Court vis-a-vis the rights of the tournament. But the Delhi High Court gave BAI clearance in November and withheld the injunction that Sporty Solutionz had requested.

This was the second such petition that has been filed by Sporty Solutionz after the BAI terminated the IBL contract on April 21. The first petition, a copy of which is in possession of IANS, was dismissed by the high court on May 29.

Finally in December, the Supreme Court allowed the BAI to hold the PBL from January 2 to 17.

Bollywood actress Jacqueline Fernandez and music composer duo Salim-Sulaiman will perform at the opening ceremony.

Jacqueline will be seen dancing to the tunes of her famous dance numbers. This will be followed by Salim and Sulaiman performing the PBL anthem. Some more captivating performances will also follow.

The first match will see a clash between Awadhe Warriors, spearheaded by 2012 Olympic bronze medallist and 2015 World Championship silver medallist Saina Nehwal, and Mumbai Rockets here. Besides Mumbai, other five franchisee participating are Delhi Acers, Hyderabad Hunters, Bengaluru Top Guns, Chennai Smashers, and Lucknow-based Awadhe Warriors.

A new rule — Trump Match — has been introduced, which is intended to make the tournament an exciting one for both players and fans.

If a team wins the Trump Match — after selecting one of the five matches in a tie — it would fetch them two bonus points. But one point will be subtracted from their tally in case of a defeat.

Malaysian veteran Lee Chong Wei was bagged by Hyderabad Hunters while World championship double bronze medallist P.V. Sindhu was snapped up by Chennai Smashers. Rising India star Kidambi Srikanth went to Bengaluru Top Guns whereas 2014 Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap went to Hyderbad.

The winners will receive Rs.3 crore, the runners-up Rs.2 crore and the two semi-finalists will get Rs.75 lakh each.

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