IBL Semifinal Preview: Pune Pistons Have Edge Over Hyderabad Hotshots

When Hyderabad Hotshots last met Pune Pistons, they were too hot for Pistons to handle their shots. Only Captain Ponappa could stop a whitewash as Saina led her team to 4-1 win. Now at semifinal stage, Hotshots would play at home in Hyderabad, and it will not be surprising if Ponnappa has the last laugh.

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Saina Nehwal Vs Ashwini Ponappa
Everyone knows how good they are in their respective events. Captaincy was new field to explore, and after 5 matches for both the teams, it can be concluded that both have been one of the best captains, at least in the way their team is bonding. Saina is the world leader, while Ponappa has the rare Bronze for India in World Cup that Saina has missed four times now. Hyderabad is home for Ponappa too and conditions will not be alien to her, and henceforth her team. Overall their personality is unmatched, as both are Arjun Awardees and have worked together to make India a prominent face. In the tournament Saina has remained unbeaten after 5 matches while Ponappa has certainly got the label of having best Mixed Doubles team (with Fischer) despite their surprise loss against Marin/Mogensen of Banga Beats.

Pune Team Analysis
Nielsen has been their strongest member with 5 wins, 4 with Ponappa in Mixed Doubles and 1 in Men’s Doubles. Nyugen Tien appears the best to win a Men’s Singles as Sourabh Verma and Sridhar were inconsisten. Juliane Schenk has failed against Saina and Sindhu both.
Player’s in Different Events

    Men’s Singles Matches: Anup Sridhar (1 won), Sourabh Verma (2 won, 3 loss), Nyugen Tien (2 won, 2 lost vs Jayaram HH, KDS)
    Women’s Singles Matches: Juliane Schenk (3 won, 2 loss)
    Men’s Doubles: Joachim Fischer Nielsen/ Kiong Tan Wee (1 won), Pranav/Vishnu (1l), Sanave Thomas/Rupesh Kumar (3 loss)
    Mixed Doubles: Ponnappa/Nielsen (4 won, 1 loss)

Hyderabad Hotshots Team Analysis
Saina remains unbeaten, while their strongest Male team member is Tanongsak. Jayaram and Taufix has failed to impress. Men’s Doubles team of Goh/Lim appears decent, while Mixed Doubles is poor.
Men’s Singles Matches: Ajay Jayaram (1 win vs PP, 4 loss), S Tanongsak (5 wins), Taufik Hidayat (1 loss)
Women’s Singles Matches: Saina Nehwal (won all)
Men’s Doubles: Shem V Goh and Khim Lim wah (2 won and 2 lost), Shem/Tarun Kona (1 loss)
Mixed Doubles: Tarun Kona and Pradnya Gadre (1 win vs AW, 4 losses)

Hyderabad has two players who are undefeated. Saina still looks set to defeat anyone, or for that matter Schenk again. Tanongsak who has won all 5 Singles matches returns home and is unavailable for the semifinal. That puts Hyderabad in a spot of trouble, but Taufiq may help them win at least one Men’s Singles match. But can Jayaram win against Sourabh verma or Nyugen Tien!! Thats a big question that may decide the fate of semifinal.

Ponappa/Nielsen are set to win the Mixed doubles against average performers Tarun Kona and Pradnya Gadre. If Nielsen plays Men’s doubles with Kiong Tan Wee, then Hyderabad pair Shem V Goh and Khim Lim wah may have difficulty.

Overall, Women’s Singles is set to go to HH, while Mixed Doubles is for PP to pick. Rest 3 matches are crucial and in Men’s Singles Pune Pistons appear to have the decisive edge, while Men’s Doubles can be anyone’s game unless Pistons make it easy for Hyderabad by sending Indian pair.

Pune Pistons appears favorite to reach the Final.

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