14-time winners Indonesia take on final debutants India in the 2022 Thomas Cup final. Follow all the action from the best-of-five-matches tie right here:
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Brimming with confidence, India will once again look to punch above their weight when they run into 14-time winners Indonesia in the final of Thomas Cup on Sunday, seeking to create history one more time.
Given their formidable record, defending champions Indonesia have been the team to beat in the competition, but the Indian men’s team has shown its mettle by bringing down Malaysia and Denmark to make its first-ever final at the prestigious tournament.
While Indonesia have been relentless with an unbeaten record, India have lost just one match — against Chinese Taipei in the group stage — so far in the competition. Indonesia saw off China and Japan in the knockout stage while India went past five-time former champions Malaysia and 2016 winner Denmark.
The poster boys of Indian men’s badminton — Kidambi Srikanth and HS Prannoy — have shouldered the responsibility with an invincible record of five wins. World No 9 Lakshya Sen, who was laid low by food poisoning at the start of the tournament, has played well in patches but couldn’t provide a positive start in the last two outings.
14-time champion Indonesia take on final debutants India in the 2022 Thomas Cup final. Follow all the action, live, right here.
On Sunday, Sen will go up against world number 4 Anthony Sinisuka Ginting and the Indian will take inspiration from his last performance against the Indonesian, whom he easily dismantled in straight games at German Open in March. Srikanth will face world number 8 Jonatan Christie, who has been in red-hot form with title win at Swiss Open and runners-up finishes at Korea Open and Badminton Asia Championships. The Indian has a 4-5 record against Christie but he comes into the match after suffering losses in two close matches against the Indonesian this year and would be itching to set the record straight this time.
If the match goes down to the wires then Prannoy, who had battled pain after twisting his ankle to take the team home, will again be summoned and he is likely to cross swords with world number 24 Shesar Hiren Rhustavito. Prannoy, currently ranked 23rd in the world, has a 2-0 record against the Indonesian but he hasn’t played the youngster in the last five years.
The onus will also be on the country’s best doubles pairing of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty to put their hands up step up when needed. The Indian think-tank has brought in MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila as the second doubles pair for the final in place of the young combination of Krishna Prasad Garaga and Vishnuvardhan Goud Panjala. Arjun and Dhruv have played two matches in round robin with one win and one loss.
Indonesia possess some of the best doubles shuttlers with three players of the world’s top two pairs — Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo, Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan — in their ranks in this competition. They also have the world number 7 combination of Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto and it will be an uphill task for India to take the doubles matches. Chirag and Satwik, however, had beaten Sukamuljo and Ahsan at the 2018 Asia Team Championships and with Danish legend Mathias Boe by their side, they will fancy their chances.
(With inputs from PTI)