Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk, PV Sindhu, Premier Badminton League, PBL final, Chennai Smashers, Mumbai Rockets
PV Sindhu.IANS

Olympic medallists PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal are likely to take on each other on the opening day of the third edition of Premier Badminton League that kicks off with a tie between defending champions Chennai Smashers and Awadhe Warriors on December 23 in Guwahati.

While the previous two editions were played only over two weeks, the upcoming edition will be played over 23 days as the league has been expanded to an eight-team league after the introduction of two new teams. Only one tie has been lined up for each day and the move is expected to give players enough time to recover.

The badminton league, which will witness top names from across the world, will be played across five cities -- Guwahati, Delhi, Lucknow, Chennai and Hyderabad. North East Warriors will make their tournament debut at home on the second day against Carolina Marin-led Hyderabad Hunters.

Tournament format

According to the fixtures, each team will play two matches at home. A total of 20 group stages matches will be played in single-legged round-robin format. Top-four teams at the end of the group stages will then progress to the semi-finals, which will be played in Hyderabad.

Each tie will have a total of two men's singles matches, a women's singles, a men's doubles and mixed doubles matches. One of these rubbers will be assigned "Trump Match" status and the team that wins the match will get two points, while the team losing it will be stripped off a point.

The 3x11 point system will be used unlike the traditional 3x21 for both singles and doubles matches.

Star-studded league

Teams: Ahmedabad Smash Masters, Awadhe Warriors (Lucknow), Bengaluru Blasters, Chennai Smashers, Hyderabad Hunters, Delhi Acers, Mumbai Rockets, North Eastern Warriors (North East)

The likes of Sindhu, Saina and Carolina Marin have been adding a lot of buzz to the league over the last few years. The addition of world number one Tai Tzu Ying, who has won five Superseries titles in 2017, is only going to boost the popularity of the league.

Check out the complete squads here

Meanwhile, HS Prannoy was the costliest buy at the auction in October as the world number 10 was bought by newbies Ahmedabad Smash Masters for Rs 65 lakh. World number three Kidambi Srikanth, who won four Superseries titles in the year, was retained by Warriors for Rs 56.1 lakh.

Full schedule

S. No Match Date Venue
1 Chennai vs Lucknow Saturday, December 23 Guwahati
2 North East vs Hyderabad Sunday, December 24 Guwahati
3 Delhi vs Mumbai Monday, December 25 Guwahati
4 North East vs Ahmedabad Tuesday, December 26 Guwahati
5 Chennai vs Mumbai Wednesday, December 27 Delhi
6 Delhi vs Bengaluru Thursday, December 28 Delhi
7 Ahmedabad vs Hyderabad Friday, December 29 Delhi
8 North East vs Lucknow Saturday, December 30 Delhi
9 Delhi vs Hyderabad Sunday, December 31 Delhi
10 Bengaluru vs Mumbai Monday, January 1 Lucknow
11 Lucknow vs Ahmedabad Tuesday, January 2 Lucknow
12 Chennai vs Delhi Wednesday, January 3 Lucknow
13 Lucknow vs Mumbai Thursday, January 4 Lucknow
14 Bengaluru vs North East Friday, January 5 Chennai
15 Chennai vs Ahmedabad Saturday, January 6 Chennai
16 Hyderabad vs Lucknow Sunday, January 7 Chennai
17 Chennai vs Bengaluru Monday, January 8 Chennai
18 Mumbai vs Ahmedabad Tuesday, January 9 Chennai
19 Delhi vs North East Wednesday, January 10 Hyderabad
20 Hyderabad vs Bengaluru Thursday, January 11 Hyderabad
21 SF 1 Friday, January 12 Hyderabad
22 SF 2 Saturday, January 13 Hyderabad
23 Final Sunday, January 14 Hyderabad