New Delhi: Jwala Gutta-led Krrish Delhi Smashers will lock horns with Ashwini Ponnappa's Pune Pistons in the tournament opener of the inaugural Indian Badminton League (IBL) which kicks off here today.
It is expected to be a rollicking affair when the Indian and international stars clash with each other, playing high-octane badminton in the next 18 days to give the six franchises a chance to win the coveted title.
The opening ceremony will start at 6:30pm, which will have regular song and dance shows before the high-profile clash between Delhi and Pune begins at 8pm.
The USD one million IBL, which was affected by two postponements and a myriad of controversies, will begin at the Siri Fort sports complex, where star shuttler Saina Nehwal had clinched her Commonwealth Games gold medal in 2010.
A total of 90 matches will be played as the IBL bandwagon crosses six cities with each franchise hosting a two-day leg. The top four team will clash in the semi-finals and the winners will meet in the final on August 31 in Mumbai.
Jwala and Ashwini, who won India's first women's doubles bronze at the World Championship in 2011, will turn foes tomorrow when they led their respective teams.
Hosts Delhi boasts of Jwala as their icon player and the star doubles exponent is likely to pair up with one between the Malaysian world number two pair of Boon Heong Tan and Kien Keat Koo.
The Malaysian pair, who won the World Championships bronze and silver at Hyderabad and Paris in 2009 and 2010 respectively, is the biggest strength of the Delhi Smashers.
The format of the matches will be men's singles, women's singles, men's doubles, men's singles and then mixed doubles, which means the onus will be on Jwala to take her team home in case her colleagues fail.