Thomas Cup 2022: 3 reasons why India can win their first-ever title in tournament's history

Kidambi Srikanth upset world No. 3 Anders Antonsen 21-18, 12-21, 21-15 to help India beat Denmark 3-2 in the Thomas Cup semi-finalsin Bangkok on Friday. (Pic credit: BAI)
Kidambi Srikanth upset world No. 3 Anders Antonsen 21-18, 12-21, 21-15 to help India beat Denmark 3-2 in the Thomas Cup semi-finalsin Bangkok on Friday. (Pic credit: BAI)
Suhas Nayse

The Indian men’s badminton team is getting bigger and better in the Thomas Cup. After reaching the semi-finals of the tournament on Thursday, a feat achieved after a gap of 43 years, the Indian shuttlers did not stop and raised the bar by entering their first-ever final.

The Thomas Cup is the oldest team championship event in badminton. It is, perhaps, the toughest badminton team event. Since its inception in 1949, India had never managed to reach the final.

This time around, many experts believed that India could do well in the competition but storming into the final exceeded everyone’s expectations.

Now, after reaching the final, Indian badminton fans are hoping for the team's dream run to continue against a strong Indonesian team on Sunday.

Defending champions Indonesia will present a tough challenge to the Indian unit in Sunday's summit clash. Like the quarter-finals and semi-finals against Malaysia and Denmark, respectively, the final against Indonesia is also likely to go the distance.

India pulled off sensational 3-2 wins over both Malaysia and Denmark on two successive days. With these hard-fought wins, they have the momentum with them and can go all the way to stop their opponents' march.

Here are three reasons why India can record a history first-ever Thomas Cup title win on Sunday, May 15.

1. India have nothing to lose and everything to gain in Thomas Cup final

The Indian team has nothing to lose and everything to gain as they prepare themselves to fight for the gold medal.

Being the dark horses in the tournament, there is no pressure on the team members. They have already made the entire country proud by securing a place in the final. Irrespective of the results in Sunday's title bout, there will be no loss of respect for each and every member of the squad.

Indonesia, on the other hand, are the defending champions and hot favorites to win the title again. Of the 30 Thomas Cup tournaments held since its inception, only five countries have won the event. Indonesia is the most successful team, having won 14 times.

They will be under a lot of pressure to defend the title and safeguard their reputation as the best overall badminton men's team in the world.

2. Three quality singles players is India's main strength

The presence of Lakshya Sen, Kidambi Srikanth, and HS Prannoy is the main strength of the Indian team. Although Lakshya Sen could not win his singles matches in the knock-outs, he is India's best singles player on form and can deliver against Indonesia in the final.

Sen will be up against Anthony Sinisuka Ginting in the first singles on Sunday. Ginting edged past Japan's Kento Momota 21-13, 14-21, 21-12 in the semis on Friday.

The talented Indonesian has struggled to find his best form this season. Lakshya Sen will have a psychological advantage, having beaten Ginting in their only previous meeting this year.

Kidambi Srikanth and HS Prannoy have been playing flawless badminton lately. Their confidence is really high. The experienced campaigners can challenge anyone on their best days and have managed to upset higher-ranked opponents in the tournament so far.

If the duo can extend their sensational run, India have a golden opportunity to halt Indonesia's march towards their 15th Thomas Cup title.

3. Depth in the men’s doubles division boosts India's chances

Unlike previous editions of the Thomas Cup, India possesses a lot of depth in the men's doubles section this year. World No. 8 Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty added much-needed strength to the side.

They are capable of winning against most opponents in the world. Satwik and Chirag are likely to face a crack combination of Mohammad Ahsan and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo on Sunday. Ahsan and Kevin defeated the world No. 4 Japanese pair of Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi in the semis on Friday.

It will be tough for Satwik and Chirag against Indonesia but the Indian duo are confident after their breathtaking wins in their last two encounters of Thomas Cup.

Apart from Satwik and Chirag, the other two pairs in the squad are also very talented. The team management decided to field Krishna Prasad Garaga and Vishnuvardhan Goud Panjala in the knock-outs. Although they failed to win, they put up a decent fight against both Malaysian and Danish teams.

The decision on whether to continue with the same combination or field the pair of MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila against Indonesia will be known later. Indonesians have traditionally been a powerhouse in men’s doubles division which means the task is cut out for the Indian doubles players.

Edited by Akshay Saraswat


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