The Indian men's team, captained by global bronze medalist Lakshya Sen, defeated Hong Kong 3-2 in group A on Thursday to keep their faint prospects of reaching the knockout stage of the Badminton Asia Team Championships alive. India had suffered 0-5 loss to Korea in their opening match.
Indonesia and Korea, the three-time reigning champions, are presently leading the fight to qualify from Group A. During the five-match rubber, India Open winner Lakshya Sen, Mithun Manjunath, and Hariharan Amsakarunan and Ruban Rethinasabapathi Kumar's doubles partnership gave a strong account of themselves. To get India off to a strong start, world number 13 Lakshya thrashed world no 17 Lee Cheuk Yiu, a silver medalist at the 2013 Asian Youth Games, 21-19 21-10 in 35 minutes.
Manjit Singh Khwairakpam and Dingku Singh Konthoujam were defeated by Hong Kong's Law Cheuk Him and Lee Chun Hei Reginald in a dramatic 20-22 21-15 21-18 victory. Kiran George, who won his first Super 100 tournament in Odisha, put up a valiant effort before succumbing to Chan Yin Chak 13-21 21-17 9-21, as Hong Kong lead 2-0 after three sets.
Hariharan and Ruban, who won the all-India senior ranking badminton event in Chennai in December, defeated Hong Kong's Chow Hin Long and Lui Chun Wai 21-17 21-16 to keep India in contention. Manjunath, who had advanced to the semi-finals of the Syed Modi Super 300 tournament, then defeated Jason Gunawan 21-14 17-21 21-11 to give India a 3-2 victory.
The men's squad, on the other hand, will need to beat Indonesia outright on Friday and hope that Korea loses against Hong Kong to make an unlikely run to the knockout stage. India and Korea have one victory each, and if both sides win on Friday, it will come down to the number of matches and games won and lost, with Korea having the advantage.
The Indian women's squad was defeated by Malaysia in their first encounter, losing 3-1. On Friday, they will face reigning champion Japan.