Hyderabad: Hyderabad Hunters did not have the best of starts to the fifth edition of the Premier Badminton League. They went down to Chennai Superstarz 2-5 in the season opener before managing to win against Awadhe Warriors 2-1 in a low-scoring match. However, World Champion PV Sindhu-led hosts hope to get back to winning ways in front of the home crowd when they host North Eastern Warriors in the PBL tie at the GMC Balayogi Stadium in Gachibowli on Wednesday.
Sindhu, who has been conferred with Padma Bhushan, is in super form for Hunters. She won both her encounters in the league so far and looks to continue the fine form when she faces Michelle LI. Singles player Sourabh Verma, after loss in the first match, was back in his elements with a close victory over compatriot Shubhanker Day in the Hunters’ previous match against Awadhe Warriors. But their loss in their trump match of Daren Liew dented their score. The mixed doubles of pair of N Sikki Reddy and Vladimir Ivanov looked settled in their previous match. But the English duo of Sean Vendy and Ben Lane has to find their footing quickly to change the fortunes of their team.
North Eastern Warriors too had a mixed campaign so far. They won a close encounter against Bengaluru Raptors 4-3 before going down to Awadhe Warriors 3-4 to be placed fourth in the points table with seven points against bottom-placed Hyderabad, who have four points.
Sindhu is confident of a turnaround in the team’s fortunes. “Playing in front of the home crowd will be an extra motivation. The league has just begun. There are four more matches to go in the league and all of them are in Hyderabad. We are confident of good outing in the home conditions. The team is in good spirits. The good thing is that everyone in the squad has given their 100 per cent. We win some and lose some. That is the game. But giving your best is what matters,” she said on the eve of their home match.
She is also confident that the 2017 edition winners will bring back the trophy home this year as well. Meanwhile, mixed doubles player N Sikki Reddy also exuded confidence saying that playing for Hyderabad, which is her hometown, in front of home fans is a huge motivation.