Mumbai Masters look to bounce back against Awadhe Warriors
Bangalore: Mumbai Masters will look to put behind the disappointment of the defeat at the hands of Saina Nehwal-led Hyderabad Hotshots in their previous match and focus on staying in hunt for the semifinal berth when they cross swords with resilient Awadhe Warriors in the Indian Badminton League (IBL) here on Saturday.
Despite a thrilling victory by world number one Lee Chong Wei of Mumbai Masters in the opening match yesterday, they lost the script after Hotshots bounced back with Saina guiding the team to a 3-2 win.
But come tomorrow, Mumbai will be expecting Chong Wei (Malaysia), Marc Zwiebler (Germany), Tine Baun (Denmark) and Vladimir Ivanov (Russia) to perform to their potential.
Mumbai have garnered 13 points and are placed second in the points table, while the Warriors scrapped to number four position after thrashing Krrish Delhi Smasher 4-1 last night.
Apart from Chong Wei, Zwiebler has also put up impressive performances for Mumbai so far in the tournament, except when he was stunned by Thailand`s Saensomboonsuk on Thursday.
On the other hand, the likes of Malaysian Weng Fei Chong, R M V Gurusaidutt and Thailand Open champion K Srikanth in the Warriors line-up could not considered as world beaters.
The mixed doubles pair of Ivanov and Sikki Reddy have been exceptional in the tournament so far. Mumbai will be hoping they can replicate their performance against the patchy Warriors in this segment.
In fact, Sikki has been one of the most impressive doubles players in the IBL with her deft abilities at the net.
It will be, however, interesting to see if Chong Wei features in the mixed doubles event like he did in the tie against Krrish Delhi Smashers.
After two successive defeats, the Masters did not play Baun in the last match against Hyderabad and gave an opportunity to P C Thulsi, who was thrashed by Saina in a 28-minute women's singles match.
The Mumbai think-tank may give another chance to Thulsi or take a decision in Baun's favour as they don't have a decent alternative and hope she can grind out a result.
Taking a cue from their encounter last night when they thrashed Delhi 4-1 and leapfrogging to number four position from sixth in the points table, the Warriors will look to continue their fine run.
Although the men's doubles combination of Markis Kido (Indonesia) and Mathias Boe (Denmark) failed to make any impression against Delhi, but they have been consistently producing results with two out of four wins so far.
The men's singles will be a grey area. World number 12 Wei Feng Chong is their best bet, but playing against Chong Wei, Zwiebler or Ivanov will not be an easy task.
K Srikanth has been the other shuttler who has impressed, including in his last night match against giant-killer B Sai Praneeth in men's singles. But he will certainly not have it easy against the Masters.
The form of icon player Sindhu, who had lost her first two matches in the tournament, overcame her slump to get back to winning ways by pulling off the match against Arundhati Pantawane yesterday. She will be hoping to give a much-needed boost to overwhelm a formidable Mumbai.
The Warriors have also not managed to get a regular mixed doubles combination going, but they will have to fix it soon if they wish to enter the knockout stages of the tournament.