India’s chances of qualifying for the knock-outs of the Sudirman Cup took a huge beating as they were hammered 1-4 by Thailand in the opening Group A match on Sunday. They are set to face defending champions China in the next fixture, on Monday, followed by hosts Finland, the day after.
With the Indian team missing the big guns like PV Sindhu and the men’s doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, others had to step up to the occasion. However, India were on the back-foot from the beginning as Kidambi Srikanth went down to three-time junior champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn 9-21 19-21 in the first singles matchup.
The case was no different for the women’s pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy, as they were outclassed by the world no.8 duo of Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai in straight sets of 21-23 8-21.
Malvika Bansod, one of the young guns, still new to the international stage, lacked experience as she was toppled by world no.10 in the women’s singles event, with scores of 11-21 14-21. Meanwhile, the men’s pair of MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila won their respective match over Supak Jomkoh and Kittinupong Kedren, which was the only silver lining for India in the entire match.
In the fifth tie, the mixed duo of B Sai Praneeth and Tanisha Crasto lost to the world no. 3 pair of Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai with scores of 13-21 11-21. The match ended 4-1 in favour of Thailand.
The loss has dented India’s chances of qualifying for the knock-out stages, with them set to face defending champions China in the next fixture, on Monday, followed by hosts Finland, the day after.