CWG 2018: Indian shuttlers off to a flyer

Indian shuttlers got off to a great start at the 2018 Commonwealth Games as they registered 5-0 wins over Sri Lanka and Pakistan in the mixed team event.

Srikanth Kidambi in action at the 2018 Commonwealth Games 2018 in Gold Coast.   -  PTI

India kept its slate clean as it walloped Sri Lanka and Pakistan by an identical 5-0 margin to enjoy a classy start to its campaign in the mixed team event in badminton of the 2018 Commonwealth Games at the Carrara sports arena 2 here on Thursday.

The group play in Pool A proved to be an easy ride for the Indians, who across ten matches, dropped a lone set before making smooth progress right through its two matches. India did not field its star player P. V. Sindhu in any of the matches and this understandable as she had suffered a minor injury during the final preparatory stage back home in Hyderabad last week.

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Regardless, the team carried far too many guns for either of its rivals. Against Sri Lanka, the duo of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Ruthvika Shivani Gadde was tested by the rival combine of Sachin Dias and Thilini Pramodika in the opening mixed doubles as the latter took the second set at 21-19 after the first game was won by the Indians at 21-15. The Indians were again given a harrowing time in the third before prevailing 22-20.

That was the only problem the Indians faced as Kidambi Srikanth breezed past Niluka Karunaratne 21-16, 21-10, while Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty thwarted the team of Dinuka Karunaratna and Buwaneka Goonathilleka 21-17, 21-4.

Saina Nehwal made easy work of Madushika Dilrukshi for a 21-8, 21-4 win, before Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy rounded off with a 21-12, 21-4 win over Thilini Pramodika and Kavidi Srimanage.

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Buoyed by this success, the Indians went all guns blazing against Pakistan and the reworked pair of Satwik and Sikki provided the country will a solid start, winning over Mohammed Irfan and Palwasha Bashir 21-10, 21-13 in the mixed doubles.

Srikanth, thereafter, made it 2-0 taking Murad Ali in his stride at 21-16, 22-20 before Saina blitzed past Mahoor Shahzad 21-7, 21-11. The remaining two doubles too proved easy for India as Pranaav and Chirag put it across Mohammed Irfan and Murad Ali (21-4, 21-15), and Ashwini and Ruthvika shut out the challenge from Mahoor Shahzad and Palwasha Bashir quite easily at 21-6, 21-10.

India will face Scotland in its last league match on Friday.