Today the Indian Men's Team reached the semifinals of the Badminton Asia Team Championship 2020, held in Manilla, Philippines. They beat Thailand in a thrilling Quarter Final encounter by a 3-2 margin.
In the first match of the tie, India's number 1 singles player Sai Praneeth (World number 11) was up against World number 12, Kantaphon Wangchareon. It was an intriguing contest between the two, which lasted for more than an hour. Finally, the young Thai shuttler won the match in 3 sets (21-14, 14-21, 21-12) to give Thailand a crucial 1-0 lead in the tie.
In the second match of the tie, India's Kidambi Srikanth was up against Kunlavut Vitidsarn. Former world number 1 Srikanth was a clear favourite to win this tie against his relatively unknown opponent and draw India level. But Vitidsarn put up an inspired show and beat his illustrious opponent, Srikanth in straight sets (22-20, 21-14) to give Thailand a 2-0 lead in the tie. With Thailand leading 2-0 after the first 2 singles matches, which India were expected to win, it seemed like India's chances of winning the tie was almost over.
But in the 3rd tie, India's young doubles pair of MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila put up a brilliant performance to beat the Thai pair Kittinupong Kedren and Tanupat Viriyangkura in straight sets, 21-18, 22-20. This win helped India to remain in the match and the tie result stood at 2-1 in favour of Thailand.
In another do-or-die 4th tie, young and promising Indian shuttler Lakshya Sen, ranked 31st in the world, was up against Suppanyu Avihingsanon, ranked 45th in the world. The Indian team management were hoping that Lakshya won't lose this match against his lower-ranked opponent like Praneeth and Srikanth did earlier in the day. Lakshya did not disappoint, as he went on to win the match in straight sets (21-19, 21-18).
With the tie level at 2-2, in the deciding match, India had to field a makeshift doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and K Srikanth, in absence of Chirag's regular partner, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy. However, the makeshift pair did not disappoint as they scripted a famous comeback victory by winning the match in 3 hard-fought sets (21-15 16-21 21-15) against their Thai opponents Maneepong Jongjit and Nipitphon Phuangphuapet.
Tomorrow the Indian team will be facing Indonesia in the semifinals. The Indian badminton fans will be hoping that the team will continue their winning momentum and reach the finals.