World Team TT c'ships: India defeats Croatia 3-2 to keep its hopes alive

Harmeet Desai came to India's rescue after Sharath Kamal and G. Sathiyan had lost the first two rubbers.

Harmeet Desai shows his delight after winning a rubber for India.   -  Getty Images

Indian men valiantly fought back from being 0-2 down to defeat Croatia 3-2 and keep their hopes of making it to the knock-out stages (round of 16) alive in the men's Championship Division of the world team table tennis championship here on Tuesday.

India takes on Austria in its last group match on Wednesday.

After Sharath Kamal and G. Sathiyan lost the first two rubbers to Andrej Gacina and Tomislav Pucar respectively, it was Harmeet Desai who came to India's rescue. The Indian, ranked 74 in the world, came out all guns blazing to defeat Frane Kojic in a five-game thriller.

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Sathiyan turned out to be the show-stopper in the fourth rubber. The top-ranked Indian, was outstanding in attack and defence as he outplayed Andrej Gacina in three straight games. That victory certainly gave the much-needed confidence to the team.

Sharath used all his experience to outwit Pucar in five games to close out the tie. In fact, Sharath's defeat to Gacina was his first in the Championship.

The result:

India bt Croatia 3-2 (Sharath Kamal lost to Andrej Gacina 11-5, 8-11, 9-11, 9-11; G. Sathiyan lost to Tomislav Pucar 11-7, 5-11, 13-15, 7-11; Harmeet Desai bt Frane Kojic 11-3, 8-11, 9-11, 11-3, 11-7; Sathiyan bt Gacina 12-10 12-10, 11-7; Sharath bt Pucar 11-8, 11-8, 10-12, 10-12, 11-5).