World number 4 Saina Nehwal will take to the court for the first time in front of her home crowd in the Indian Badminton League (IBL) as table-toppers Hyderabad Hotshots face bottom-placed Banga Beats here on Tuesday.
While it will be an opportunity for Hotshots to consolidate their position, the visitors would look to play for pride.
After their 1-4 loss to Krrish Delhi Smashers last night, the Bangalore side now has just nine points from one win and three losses in four ties.
Banga Beats boast of a balanced line-up, including icon player Parupalli Kashyap, world number 8 Hun Yu and rising star Tai Tzu Ying. But the men's singles players have not been consistent and it has proved to be their bane.
The presence of stars like Saina, veteran Taufik Hidayat and the young Ajay Jayaram in the rival camp will only make things difficult for the visitors.
Also, doubles specialists V Shem Goh, Khim Wah Lim, Tarun Kona and Pradnya Gadre in the opposition may prove to be too much for the Banga Beats.
While Saina is representing her city, another home-grown star, Kashyap, playing for Bangalore, would also look to make use of the local support.
As is the case with most of the established Indian shuttlers, Kashyap also learnt the nuances of the game at the Pullela Gopichand Academy.
Spanish import Carolina Marin, 2012 London Olympics silver medallist and former world No.1 in men's doubles Carsten Mongensen would also look to chip in for Banga Beats along with young Indians like Aparna Balan, Arvind Bhatt, Aditya Prakash, Akshay Dewalkar and J Meghna.
However, in Saina's backyard, it will take a lot of doing for Banga Beats to get the better of Hostshots, who have been in supreme form with fifteen points from four ties.
The teams (from):
Hyderabad Hotshots: Saina Nehwal, Taufik Hidayat, Ajay Jayaram, V Shem Goh , Tarun Kona, Pradnya Gadre, Khim Wah Lim, Tanongsak, Kanthi Visalakshi, Subhankar Dey and C Rahul Yadav.
Banga Beats: Parupalli Kashyap, Hu Yun, Tai Tzu Ying, Carolina Marin, Carston Margensen, Akshay Dewalkar, Aparna Balan, Aditya Prakash, Arvind Bhat, J Meghana.