India’s men’s badminton team won the Thomas Cup with a 3-0 win over Power House Indonesia on Sunday, a historic victory that will enhance the country’s standing in the sport.
World Championship medalists Lakshya Sen, Kidambi Srikkanth and doubles players Chirag Shetty and Sattviksairaj Rankireddy distributed when it was most important to stun the 14-time champions.
After being knocked off-color in the knockout stage, Tarun Sen won 8-21 21-17 21-16 to give India a 1-0 lead over world number five Anthony Sinisuka Ginting with great display of temperament and skill.
Rankireddy and Shetty’s best double pairing in the country then showed steel nerves as it saved four match points in the second game and finally defeated Mohammad Ahsan and Kevin Sanjay Sukamuljo 18-21 23-21 21-19.
In the second singles match, Srikanth secured a historic victory by defeating Asian Games gold medalist Jonathan Christie 21-15 23-21 in 48 minutes.
An incredible week ended in a proper manner for Indian badminton as the country did not reach the top of the most prestigious team event in the world.
Sen made a terrific display of his mental fortitude as he recovered from the reverse of the opening game to beat his high-ranking opponent. This is his second career win against Ginting.
The match was moving fast, with the two players making angular returns to the rally to keep each other in an awkward position.
At the break, Ginting was leading 11-7 and it was one-way traffic there as the Indonesians easily left the first game.
After the team changed, Goal played better and went ahead 7-4 before entering the break with a four-point advantage. Ginting mounted his attack to narrow the lead at 11-12 but Sen held a tight grip on the rally and grabbed five game points to take the match to a decisive stage.
Sen continued to involve his opponent in the rally but Ginting climbed on his subtlety to make it 5-1. The Indian showed great temper as he scripted a slow comeback, cutting the lead to 6-8.
Ginting was able to establish an 11-7 lead at the break and Sen went into the net.
On the better side of the court, Sen began to dominate the rallies as the ginning lines shook twice, allowing the Indians to return to 12-12 through a cross court smash after a long rally.
Sen slowly moved away with a flurry of points to move to 18-14.
A quick return from Sen and a wide shot from Ginting took the Indian to four match points and he converted another hard net shot, which fell to the tap.
Sen fell in court in disbelief.
Then it was Sattvik and Chirag’s turn to own the stage and they showed their determination against Ahsan and Sukamuljo.
After a brief loss in the first game, India came back strong in the second and saved three match points to take the match to a decisive stage.
In the third game, India got up and tried to use the court. It worked because they were 11-9 ahead in the third game break.
After a tough fight, it turned out to be 16-16. India showed better nerves and won an important video referral. Satvik brought a smash and once Sukamulio went into the net, it was a two match point advantage for India.
Indonesia saved one but there was more drama as Satvik later received a yellow card for being late to get ready to serve. But Chirag made a cross court smash to close the contest and India roared as they were leading 2-0.
In the second singles match, Srikanth played a measured game, keeping the rallies short and each time the shuttle was within his hitting range. It served as his precise smash on both flanks which earned him points.
Srikanth was up 8-3 but he made a number of inevitable errors, allowing Christie to draw the par 15-15. The Indian though controlled everything, made it 20-16 and sealed when Christie went into the net.
The second game was no different but Srikanth maintained a three-point advantage at the break. After the break, Christie swings the table with a six-point burst from 10-13 to jump to take a three-point cushion.
However, a few errors by Christie and Srikanth bring equality to 18-18.
Another exciting rally ended with a jump as Srikanth was two points away from victory. However, when the shuttle deviates from the net, Chirasti goes to the first game point.
Srikanth was able to save one but Christie again quickly went to the game point with a reflex.
Srikanth then grabs a championship point with a smash and seals it with another cracking high-jump smash. The Indian turned to his teammates, punched his fist in the air and the whole squad ran across the court, jumping for joy.