Pune 7 Aces and the Awadhe Warriors occupy the third and the fourth spots in the league table respectively with just a solitary point separating them and it will be a test of nerves when the two meet in Tie No. 17 of the league at the GMC Balayogi SATS Indoor Stadium here on Monday.
Interestingly, both lost their last ties yesterday in the second double header of Season 5. While Pune suffered a reversal of fortunes at the hands of North Eastern Warriors, the Lucknow-based franchise was narrowly edged by the Chennai Superstarz. Suffice to say, both will be hungry and motivated to bounce back from the loss with a semi-final berth on the line.
With the Bengaluru Raptors breathing down their necks, they would really be looking to separate themselves from the defending champions in their hunt for a coveted last-fourth berth.
Pune needs introspection as they were thoroughly demolished 0-5 by the North Eastern Warriors. On a day when nothing went their way, only their talismanic men's doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Hendra Setiawan rose to the occasion to take their unbeaten streak to 4 matches. Being so close to the knock-out stages, they wouldn't want to squander this priceless opportunity and they would need their mixed doubles duo of Chris and Gabrielle Adcock to fire along with the usually reliable Loh Kean Yew in men's singles.
Awadhe Warriors, on the other hand, has the advantage in women's singles being led by the World No. 14 Beiwen Zhang. Their men's doubles pair of Ko Sung Hyun and Ivan Sozonov put up a gutsy show against Chennai's Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Dhruv Kapila and the Warriors would bank on them to display their prowess again. Wong Wing Ki Vincent and Subhankar Dey's form would be crucial as the Warriors desperately seek to remain in contention.
( With inputs from IANS )