Thomas Cup – India defeated Malaysia to ensure Medal and enter semifinals after 43 years

The Indian men’s badminton team edged out Malaysia 3-2 to reach their first Thomas Cup semi-final in 43 years at the Thomas and Uber Cup 2022 in Bangkok, Thailand on Thursday.

India’s Thomas Cup tie against Malaysia went down to the wire with Kidambi Srikanth, HS Prannoy and Chirag Shetty-Satwiksairaj Rankireddy producing the wins.

India were put on the back foot early in the tie after Lakshya Sen, India’s highest ranked men’s singles player at world No. 9, lost the opening rubber to world No. 6 Lee Zii Jia.

Lakshya Sen went into the match with 2-0 head-to-head record over the Malaysian, with his last win coming at the All England semi-final in March. However, Lee Zii Jia proved too good for the Indian on the night. The Malaysian came from behind to win the tight first game and completely dominated the next, winning 23-21, 21-9.

Up against the in-form Goh Sze Fei and Nur Izzuddin, Chirag-Satwik played out an intense first game, which saw both teams matching each other point for point winning the match 21-19, 21-15.

Then world championships silver medallist Kidambi Srikanth gave India the lead. The world No. 11 from India defeated NG Tze Yong, who is ranked 46th in the world 21-11, 21-17.

Malaysia levelled the tie again in the fourth rubber, with the India duo of Krishna Prasad and Vishnuvardhan Panjala going down against Aaron Chia and Teo Ee Yi 21-19, 21-17.

HS Prannoy stepped up against Leong Jun Hao and got India past the finish line. While the Malaysian crumbled under pressure, making plenty of unforced errors, Prannoy kept calm to win 21-13, 21-8.

India have reached semi-finals of the Thomas Cup on only three occasions – 1952, 1955 and 1979. They were knocked out in the quarters at the last edition in 2020. India will face the winners between South Korea and Denmark in the last four.