Malaysia won their 4th Commonwealth Games mixed team badminton crown after beating India 3-1 in the gold medal match in Birmingham.
Two-time Olympic medalist PV Sindhu was at her best, helping India bounce back from the men’s doubles defeat.
Sindhu showed nerves of steel against Goh Jin Wei, the World No. 60, beating her in straight games after surviving a scare in the first game.
However, India suffered an unexpected reverse in the men’s singles.
Former World No. 1 and member of India’s Thomas Cup-winning team, Kidambi Srikanth, suffered a shock defeat to World No. 42 Ng Tze Yong.
The 22-year-old Malaysian who replaced All England champion and World No. 5 Lee Zii Jia, played like a man possessed to stun the Indian shuttler.
India did not field their highest-ranked men’s singles player, Lakshya Sen in the line-up for the gold medal match, which was possibly a mistake.
Lakshya played a fantastic match in the semi-final, beating reigning world champion Loh Kean Yew in the men’s singles tie against Singapore.
Srikanth lost the opening game 21-19 against Ng Tze Yong, who attacked from the very start.
The young Malaysian flaunted his speed and aggression as Srikanth had no answers.
However, Yong upped the intensity in the decider and settled the match 21-19, 6-21, 21-16 to give Malaysia a 2-1 lead.
Sindhu, who did her job to perfection, also doubled as the cheerleader as Srikanth’s teammates were cheering him on from the sidelines.
However, all the motivation was not enough for the former World No. 1 who lost what proved to be a decisive match.
It was disappointing to see Srikanth go down in the men’s singles tie of the Commonwealth Games mixed team final, 4 years after he defeated Malaysian great Lee Chong Wei in the final.
Chirag and Satwik go down fighting
World No. 7 doubles pairing of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty found the going tough against higher-ranked Aron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik of Malaysia.
The Indian pair lost the first match of the tie in straight games.
Satwik and Chirag gave it their all but the Malaysian pair was too strong and gave their team a 1-0 lead after a 21-18, 21-15 win.
Gayatri and Treesa beaten
The onus to bring the tie back on level terms fell on young Gayatri Gopichand and Jolly Treesa.
A lot was expected from the Indian women’s doubles pair, which had reached the All England semi-final earlier this year.
They came up with a valiant show but World No 11 Pearly Tan and Thinaah Muralitharan romped to a straight-game win in the 4th match of the tie.
Pearly suffered an injury scare at the end of the second game but the Malaysians held their composure to win the match 21-17, 21-18.
India’s Satwik and Ashwini Ponnappa didn’t play the final match as the tie had been settled 3-1 in Malaysia’s favour.