The Indian men’s badminton team made history on Thursday after entering the semi-finals of the Thomas Cup for the first time in 43 years. India beat Malaysia 3-2 in the quarterfinals and assured themselves of at least a bronze medal. This is India’s first-ever medal in Thomas Cup since the change in the qualifying format. India, however, didn’t have it easy and had to overcome a stiff challenge from the Malaysians. In the end, it all boiled down to the final singles tie between HS Prannoy and Leong Jun Hao. After an early stutter, Prannoy completely dominated the proceedings to win the match and send the team into raptures.
Following Prannoy’s 21-13, 21-8 win, the Indian team rushed to the court and mobbed their teammate, celebrating the win wildly.
A team that went with a mission and the historic milestone is crafted by ensuring the 1st ever #ThomasCup2022 medal only vendictates the decision to select the best shuttlers to representincluding @PRANNOYHSPRI
— BAI Media (@BAI_Media) May 12, 2022
Things didn’t start well for India in the tie as badminton sensation Lakshya Sen went down 21-23, 9-21 to reigning world champion Lee Zii Jia.
The Indian doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy dished out a brilliant performance to beat world number 13 Goh Sze Fei and Nur Izzuddin 21-19, 21-15 to draw the team level.
India then took a 2-1 lead with Kidambi Srikanth bringing his wealth of experience into play and outclassing world number 46 NG Tze Yong 21-11, 21-17.
Malaysia, though, were in no mood to roll over. Aaron Chia and Teo Ee Yi beat India’s young pairing of Krishna Prasad Garaga and Vishnuvardhan Goud Panjala 21-19, 21-17 to send their tie into the decider.
It was Prannoy against a 22-year-old Leong Jun Hao and the Indian certainly didn’t disappoint.
Prannoy fell 1-6 behind in the first game, but apart from overcoming that blip, he pretty much controlled the match. The Indian was at a completely different level in the second game, not giving his opponent even a sniff.
India will take on Viktor Axelsen-led Denmark in the semis on Friday.
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