Analysis: Thomas Cup triumph proves Indian men mean business

India win Thomas Cup
Indian players and support staff celebrate on the podium. Photo: AFP/Manan Vatsyayana

India stunned heavyweights Indonesia 3-0 to complete a maiden triumph in the Thomas Cup on Sunday. India, who had edged out Malaysia and Denmark by an identical 3-2 scoreline in the quarterfinals and semifinals, defeated the 14-time champions 3-0 in Bangkok to cap a memorable campaign.

Lakshya Sen and the doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty scored come-from-behind wins in the opening singles and doubles to hand India a 2-0 lead before World Championship silver medallist Kidambi Srikanth outplayed Asian Games champion Jonatan Christie to wrap up the tie.

India's triumph is a testimony to the squad's depth. Sen is ranked No. 9, while Srikanth is placed 11th in the world. H S Prannoy, who pulled off wins in the decider both in the quarterfinals and semifinals, is ranked 23. The Keralite braved an injury to down Dane Rasmus Gemke to secure India's maiden passage to the final.

It is to be noted that world No. 19 B Sai Praneeth had pulled out of the championship citing fitness concerns. The country's top doubles pair of  Rankireddy and Shetty is ranked No. 8.

Kidambi Srikanth
Kidambi Srikanth produces a smash in the final. Photo: AFP/Manan Vatsyayana

Srikanth was simply magnificent throughout the championship. The Andhra Pradesh shuttler won all his six matches, including a vital win over world No. 3 Anders Antonsen in the semifinal.

Youngster Sen rallied to down world No. 5 Anthony Sinisunka Ginting in the first singles in the summit clash. Rankireddy and Shetty delivered at the crunch to upset Mohammad Ahsan and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo to make it 2-0. The pressure was enormous on Christie in the second singles and the wily Srikanth made sure there was no late drama.

India's lone loss in the competition was at the hands of Chinese Taipei in their final group match. The Indians have had a long wait to clinch a medal in the prestigious competition and the gold medal would taste special for both the players and the support staff.

The triumph in front of a pro-Indonesian crowd is a loud message to the badminton superpowers that the Indian men mean business.

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