Thomas Cup final: India vs Indonesia - How the players match up

Should things come together, it's very possible that India might not even need the final match heroics by HS Prannoy to decide the Thomas Cup final against Indonesia.

A favourable head-to-head record and some injury concerns in the Indonesian camp will mean India goes into the Thomas Cup final with confidence.

India may be playing its first final of the Thomas Cup against 14-times champion Indonesia, but it will go into the contest with confidence as three of its likely participants in Sunday’s encounter have a winning head-to-head record against their Indonesian counterparts.

The South-East Asian behemoth is dealing with the absence of crucial players due to injuries, while some of its remaining mainstays have blown hot and cold in the team championships.

Should things come together, it's very possible that India might not even need the final match heroics by HS Prannoy to decide the tie.  

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H2H: 1-0 win-loss for Sen.

India has made it to the historic final in the Thomas Cup partly because of Lakshya Sen’s high ranking that has enabled the side to field Kidambi Srikanth and H. S. Prannoy as its second and third choice singles players. Lakshya Sen’s own form, though, hasn’t quite matched up.

He’s lost every match against a higher-ranked player (Chou Tien Chen, Lee Zii Jia and Viktor Axelsen), leaving India trailing on each occasion. He faces another higher-ranked player in Olympic bronze medallist Anthony Ginting.

This is a stylistic matchup that might work in the Indian’s favour, though. The Indonesian loves fast exchanges and the last (and only) time the two played – just a couple of months ago at the German Open – he was badly frustrated by the Indian’s frenetic defence in a 21-7 21-9 loss.

However, while Ginting has also lost a couple of matches to Loh Kean Yew and Kunlavut Vitidsarn early in the tournament, he seems to have found some form, of late, picking up a crucial win over Kento Momota of Japan in the semifinal. 

READ| Lakshya Sen: growing in stature after All England run


H2H: 1-0. 

Like the Malaysians, and Denmark before them, Indonesia is fielding a scratch pairing – Kevin Sanjaya usually partners Marcus Gideon, while Mohammad Ahsan is paired with Hendra Setiawan. While Indonesia would have loved to go with the two original pairings, an injury to Gideon has forced a rethink.

Although Indonesia fielded Sanjaya with Bagas Maulana in the tie against Thailand, every subsequent match has seen one of the minions (Kevin and Gideon) partner Ahsan. While the original pairings were almost unbeatable, scratch pairs are invariably vulnerable.

Sanjaya and Ahsan went down to Kang Minhyuk and Seo Seungjae of Korea before beating the World No. 4 pair of Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi of Japan in the semis. But that was a hard match in which they were down three game points in the opener and a match point in the decider before sneaking out a 22-20, 8-21, 24-22 win.

All this means Chirag Shetty and Satwik Rankireddy, who otherwise had a dismal 0-11 record against the combination of Kevin and Gideon and lost 2-3 record against Ahsan and Setiawan, will go into their doubles tie having won their only tie against Sanjaya and Ahsan – 18-21, 21-18, 24-22 in the Badminton Asia Championships in 2018. 

READ | India beats Denmark 3-2, reaches first-ever Thomas Cup final  


H2H: Srikanth trails 4-5 and is 0 for 2 in their last two encounters this year.

Srikanth has been critical to India’s success at the Thomas Cup this year, winning all five matches he’s played. His strokeplay is as effortless as ever but there’s a grit to the Indian that’s not often been on display over the last few seasons.

He had to dig deep to pull out a crucial 21-18, 12-21, 21-15 win over Anders Antonsen in the semifinal against Denmark and he’ll probably be tested once again by Asian Games gold medallist Christie, who himself has found a rich vein of form this year after a few dry seasons.

Christie has beaten Srikanth twice this season already but he’s coming off a surprise defeat to Kenta Nishimoto of Japan in the Thomas Cup semis – which made Indonesia’s progress to the final a lot more challenging than it needed to be. 

READ | Srikanth, Lakshya's success motivated me, says Satwiksairaj

Thomas Cup final - matchups by Sportstar Online

H2H: Garaga-Panjala have never played Ardianto-Alfian while Kapila–Arjun have lost on all three occasions when they played against the Indonesian pair.

Ardianto and Alfian are the World  No. 7 -- a former world bronze medallist and Asian Games silver medallist. But they haven’t had the best run at the Thomas Cup, losing their last couple of matches in Bangkok.

Still, it will be a major upset for the Indian pair to force another defeat. 

READ | HS Prannoy secures for India, a medal of his own


H2H: Prannoy leads 2-0.

Assuming he has reasonably recovered from an awkward-looking fall he suffered against Rasmus Gemke in the Thomas Cup semifinals against Denmark, Prannoy, ranked 23 will back himself to make this 3-0 in career head-to-heads against Rhustavito, ranked 24.

Prannoy might struggle in long tournaments, but he’s been in his element at the team events, winning the decider in both of India’s quarterfinal and semifinal matches.

He’s probably the strongest third singles player in this tournament and he’s justified that reputation. Key to India’s success in Bangkok has been his ability to keep mistakes down to a minimum, while still managing to hit the lines when he’s gone on the attack.

Bubbling with confidence, Prannoy should be hard to beat if he needs to finish things for India in another decider.  

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