After routing Kazakhstan 4-1 in their opening match, the Indian men’s team lost their 2nd Group B match against the young Malaysian side 1-4 at Manilla on Thursday.
Sai Praneeth who did not feature in the singles match against Kazakhstan took on Lee Zii Jia of Malaysia in the opening match of the tie. It was a disappointing performance by Sai who looked out of color and lost the match by 18-21, 15-21. The Indian played decent badminton in the first game but Zia was better. In the 2nd game, the Malaysian showed domination and won the game easily.
In the second game of the tie, Arjun MR and Chirag Shetty lost to Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik in two straight sets by 18-21, 15-21. This Indian pair played well in the first set but lost out to the seeded pairing of Malaysia. In the second game, the Malaysian pair showed their class to close out the game.
Kidambi Srikanth defeated Cheam June Wei in three grueling sets by 14-21, 21-16, 21-19 to provide some relief for the contingent. Cheam played aggressive badminton in the first game and did not allow Srikanth to play his natural game. The Indian fought back strongly to win the 2nd set easily and force the match into the decider. In the decider, both players fought for each point, but Srikanth held his nerves to win 3rd set at 21-19 to give India the first point.
In the 2nd doubles of the tie, Dhruv Kapila and Lakshya Sen lost to a seeded pairing of Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ee Yi in two straight games by 14-21, 14-21. The Indian pairing found the going tough and looked out of sorts to lose the tie. The Indian team missed the service of doubles specialists Satwiksairaj Ranki Reddy as he withdrew due to ankle sprain.
HS Prannoy was no match Leong Jun Hao as the Indian lost in two straight sets 10-21, 15-21 to lose the match at 1-4.
India will take on Thailand in the quarterfinals tomorrow. It will an extraordinary effort for the Indian team to defeat a strong Thai side which comprises Kantaphon Wangcharoen and other top-quality players.