Analysis: Thomas Cup triumph proves Indian men mean business | Sports news

India defeated heavyweight Indonesia 3-0 to complete their first Thomas Cup triumph on Sunday. India, who had defeated Malaysia and Denmark in the quarter-finals and semi-finals by an identical score 3-2, defeated the 14-time champions 3-0 in Bangkok to cap a memorable season.

Lakshya Sen and doubles pair Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty scored victories from behind in the opening singles and doubles to put India 2-0 ahead before World Cup silver medalist Kidambi Srikanth defeated Asian Games winner Jonatan Christie to bind to end the game.

India’s triumph is a testament to the strength of the squad. Sen is ranked 9th while Srikanth is ranked 11th in the world. HS Prannoy, who had victories in both the quarterfinals and semifinals in the decider, is in 23rd place. The Kerala shuttle braved an injury and defeated Denmark’s Rasmus Gemke to secure India’s maiden place in the final.

It should be noted that world No. 19B Sai Praneeth had withdrawn from the championship over fitness concerns. The country’s best doubles pair, Rankireddy and Shetty, is in 8th place.

Kidambi Srikanth produces a smash in the final. Photo: AFP/Manan Vatsyayana

Srikanth was just great throughout the championship. The Hyderabadi won all of his six matches, including an important win over world No. 3 Anders Antonsen in the semifinals.

Youngster Sen rallied against underworld No. 5 Anthony Sinisunka Ginting in the first singles of the summit bout. Rankireddy and Shetty delivered at the crucial moment to upset Mohammad Ahsan and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo to make it 2-0. The pressure on Christie in the second singles was intense and the cunning Srikanth ensured there was no late drama.

India’s only defeat in the competition went to Chine Taipei in the final group game. The Indians had had to wait a long time for a medal in the prestigious competition, and the gold medal would taste something special to both the players and the coaching staff.

The triumph in front of a pro-Indonesian crowd is a loud message to the badminton superpowers that the Indian men mean business.

Cheryl Tenny

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