Top doubles shuttler Gabrielle Adcock said Delhi Acers’ success in the Premier Badminton League (PBL) was due to their handling of the crucial “Trump Match”, a unique feature introduced in the six-team tournament.
The Acers lifted the PBL trophy here on Sunday when they beat Mumbai Rockets 4-3 in the final. In a tie between two teams, each team got to select one Trump game where a win would earn them two points, instead of the regular one, but a loss would deduct a point.
“We had a very good and strong team throughout, but you never know because the scoring was quite different and each team was very, very strong. We played the Trumps really well. That’s what got us the title. We didn’t lose a single Trump — the only team to manage it. So that was the massive difference,” Gabrielle, who was captain of the Acers during the two-week league, told IANS in an interview.
“The Trump Match made the tie really exciting and PBL interesting to watch. It was not so straight forward and there was a mix of things. It was a very good idea and good fun.”
Being an individual sport, playing in a team was something unique about the league which earned praise from the World No.7 English shuttler.
“PBL was a really good experience. It is something different from what we are normally used to. Badminton is obviously an individual sport but playing as a team was a really good experience and I enjoyed every minute of it,” said Gabrielle, who won the 2014 Commonwealth Games mixed doubles gold with husband Chris Adcock.
This time, though, the 25-year-old wasn’t playing with her husband but against him as Chris played for Chennai Smashers, who lost in the semis.
“It was good fun. We are quite used to playing against each other in training, but it was nice as we were both relaxed. We did not have massive pressure on us as my team had already won the tie,” said Gabrielle, who with Chris also won the prestigious, year-ending World Superseries Finals in Dubai in December 2015.
Though such leagues are played in a lot of countries, it was for the first time she participated in one where she loved the crowd response.
“This is the first time I played in such a league. In England, there is a new one that has come out — National Badminton League — but that is six months long where we play one match in three weeks on a Monday night. PBL is quite short and exciting,” said the Leeds-born.
“People followed the league and they know what was going on in the two weeks of solid badminton. The crowd reception was really good, especially in the last few days. It is pretty surreal to play in front of such large and loud crowds. It was great to experience it as a player, to see the following for badminton in India.”
(Sandip Sikdar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)