India men registered a thrilling comeback victory over Thailand to enter the semi-finals of the ongoing Badminton Asia Team Championships in Manila on Friday. India lost their opening two singles matches before winning the remaining three for a 3-2 win and thus confirming at lease a bronze medal from the event.
India’s quarter-finals clash with Thailand began on shaky notes with star shuttlers Kidambi Srikanth and B Sai Praneeth losing their respective singles matches. Praneeth was the first in court and the world championships bronze medalist lost to Kantaphon Wangcharoen 14-21, 21-14, 12-21.
In the second match, former world No. 1 Srikanth lost 20-22 14-21 to Kunlavut Vitidsarn with India trailing 0-2.
With India on the brink of elimination, the doubles pair of MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila brought them back beating Kittinupong Kedren and Tanupat Viriyangkura in the first doubles encounter of the tie. The pair won 21-18, 22-20 as India made it 1-2.
Rising star Lakshya Sen then brought things on level terms by winning his singles contest against Suppanyu Avihingsanon 21-19, 21-18.
In the decider, Chirag Shetty and Srikanth combined to beat Maneepong Jongjit and Nipitphon Phuangphuapet 21-15, 16-21, 21-15 in the second doubles match to hand their team a close 3-2 win.
“It is an incredible result for us considering the fact that we didn’t have Satwiksairaj (Rankireddy) and we generally depend on the singles to get us the win. But after we lost the first two singles, the way we got that doubles win and then Lakshya brought us back to level, it was a complete team effort,” Chirag told PTI.
“Beating Indonesia will be a difficult task because they have such formidable doubles pairs and even in singles, there players are ranked in top 10, so tough but if we can put the best foot foward like today, we hope to do well,” Chirag signed off.
In the semis, India will square off against Indonesia.