India Lose 1-4 to Malaysia in Badminton Asia Team Championships
Doubles specialist Satwiksairaj Rankireddy's absence proved crucial as the Indian men's team suffered a 1-4 loss against a young Malaysian side in its second group B match of the Badminton Asia Team Championships on Thursday.
With Satwik pulling out the event due to an ankle sprain, India were forced to field two scratch pairs — MR Arjun and Chirag Shetty and Dhruv Kapila and Lakshya Sen, both of whom lost their respective ties.
After this loss, India finished second in the group and will now take on Thailand in the quarter-finals on Friday.
After a 4-1 win over minnows Kazakhstan in the opening match, India locked horns with Malaysia and with Satwik missing, the onus was on Praneeth to give India a good start but the World Championships bronze medallist lost 18-21, 15-21 to world No 14 Lee Zii Jia.
Former world No 1 Srikanth then struggled past 23-year-old Cheam June Wei, a 2014 Youth Olympic Games gold medallist, 14-21, 21-16, 21-19 to make it 1-2 after the first three ties.
However, makeshift pair of Dhruv and Lakshya couldn't get past world No 17 pair of Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ee Yi, losing 14-21, 14-21 in 27 minutes as Malaysia took an unassailable 3-1 lead.
It will take an extraordinary effort from India now to get across Thailand in the quarter-finals.
Thailand boosts of quality players such as world No 12 Kantaphon Wangcharoen, three-time world junior champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn and 2018 Japan Open runners-up Khosit Phetpradab in the singles.
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