Indian badminton team creates history, wins maiden Thomas Cup title


new delhi, may 15: Kidambi Srikanth was mobbed by teammates seconds after he secured a 3-0 win to hand India' its first ever Thomas Cup title. Srikanth beat Jonathan Christie 22-15, 23-21.
The result means that Srikanth and his team created history after they won The Thomas Cup title for the first time in 73 years.
India's maiden title was set up by two back to back gritty performances by Lakshya Sen and the doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy.
Sen outsmarted Anthony Ginting to give india the lead in the tie's first match. Chirag and Satwik saved four match points to win 8-21, 21-17, 21-16.
The Indian doubles pari for better of the Indonesian pair of Muhammad Ahsan and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo 18-21, 23-21, 21-19 to give a 2-0 lead in the finals.
Hailing the Indian men's badminton team for winning the Thomas Cup for the first time, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that they have scripted history and their win will motivate many upcoming sportspersons.
Meanwhile, Sports Minister Anurag Thakur has announced Rs 1 crore cash award for men's badminton team.
Lakshya Sen, who came into the final with defeats in the quarterfinal and semifinal, began India's dominance with a come-from-behind win against Anthony Ginting. Chirag and Satwik found themselves in similar boat after losing the first game against Kevin Sukamuljo and Mohammad Ahsan.
But roaring comebacks in the second game by both Lakshya and Satwik-Chirag forced the match into the decider where the Indian shuttlers edged their opponents in all three matches. Lakshya won 8-21, 21-17 and 21-16, while Satwik and Chirag took the game 18-21, 23-21, 21-19.
All eyes were on Srikanth, and unbeaten in the tournament, the World No. 11 secured a straight game win 21-15, 23-21 over the No. 8-ranked Jonatan Christie to hand India a piece of history. HS Prannoy, who played crucial roles in the previous two knockout matches wasn't needed today, and neither was the doubles pair of MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila.
Lakshya, who was off-colour against Malaysia and Denmark, the onus was on the World No 9 to get India off the mark, but when Ginting took the first game rather comprehensively, the belief was that India needed to really up their game in the summit clash.
But what transpired in the second game was rather scintillating. Lakshya's determined and fierce comeback left Ginting flustered.
Trailing 8-15, Lakshya showed impeccable defence and raced ahead 21-17. he displayed the same enthusiasm and courage and decider and sealed the game.
For a brief moment, emotions got the better of Satwik and Chirag as after being neck-and-neck at 9-11, the Indian pair gave away advantage to allow Kevin and Ahsan to storm to a 17-11 lead. Four more points and we were into the second game. It did not begin on an even keel though as India raced to a 11-6 lead. But a strong comeback from the Indonesian pair after the break almost injected a new life in Kevin and Ahsan.
An amazing turnaround saw them stretch their lead to 19-14. It was there that it felt as it India would have to wait, but a deficit of five points, narrowed down to two, and two more points later, it was levelled at 20-20.
A little composure and wonderful tackling of nerves for saw India push the game into the decider despite Ahsan saving two game points. The decider began on an even keel and and despite both teams enjoying slender leads at different course of the game, Chirag's cross court smash gave India a 2-0 lead.
Next, the onus was on Srikanth to ensure India not lose their advantage. With the score initially reading 9-9, Srikanth mounted pressure on Christie, securing six straight points to wrap up the opening game.
The second game was a lot closer with Christie, at one stage, winning six points out of seven. But Srikanth kept his cool and marked his areas. An array of smashes caught Christie off guard and despite the Indonesian shuttler showing tremendous reactions, a wide shot gave Srikant and India one of their most memorable points.

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