The Indian men's squad parading over at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex at Manila for the biennial Badminton Asia Team Championships 2020 met with a humiliating defeat at the hands of Malaysia. The Indian shuttlers put up an incredibly lackluster show against the rather young but talented Malaysian team, in their second Group B match. It was Malaysia who won easily as the Indians lost 1-4.
Coming into the match after defeating Kazakhstan 4-1 in their opening round match, the Indian shuttlers suffered a crushing loss to Malaysia. The only saving grace for the day was the victory notched by former World No. 1 player, Kidambi Srikanth who fought his way past Cheam June Wei in three games, 14-21, 21-16, 21-19, in a match that was three minutes short of being an hour.
Truth be told, the Indian team felt the absence of their doubles specialist duo of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty to power them through. Rankireddy is sitting out the tournament owing to an ankle injury which caused Shetty to pair up with MR Arjun. The duo had to suffer a quick loss in just 31 minutes at the hands of World No. 8 doubles pair of Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik, 21-18, 21-5.
Even the youngster duo of Lakshya Sen and Dhruv Kapila could not be of any assistance as they went down to Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ee Yi in a swift matter of 27 minutes. The World No. 17 doubles pair of Yew Sin and Teo Ee Yi won the match, 21-14, 21-14.
World Championships bronze medalist, B. Sai Praneeth was also unable to make a mark today as he was hassled by the experienced World No. 14 player, Lee Zii Jia, on court. Praneeth could not register a victory and lost to Jia, 21-18, 21-15.
HS Prannoy, a former World No. 8 player, could not access his full skill set today against the 2017 Asian Junior Champion, Leong Jun Hao. After a brief battle of 34 minutes, it was the Malaysian who won 21-10, 21-15.
However, a tougher challenge awaits the Indian men now as they will have to face a brilliant team from Thailand in the quarter-finals. With the likes of World No. 12, Kantaphon Wangcharoen, three-time World Junior Champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn in their possession, the Thai team will make for a difficult challenge for the Indians.Published 13 Feb 2020, 21:03 IST