The India-Malaysia Commonwealth Games rivalry is to be renewed after both cruised through their Mixed Team semifinals in Birmingham yesterday.
Malaysia were the first to book their ticket to the gold medal tie, downing host England 3-0 with straight games wins coming in men’s singles and doubles via Ng Tze Yong and Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik. Ng defeated Toby Penty 21-13 21-14 while Chia and Soh overcame Sean Vendy/Ben Lane 21-17 21-18 to deliver the winning point.
Defending champions India later whipped Singapore by the same 3-0 scoreline but without dropping a game. Men’s singles world champion Loh Kean Yew was expected to keep his team alive after victories by men’s pair Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/Chirag Shetty and Pusarla V. Sindhu gave India a 2-0 lead. The 25-year-old however, could not offer much in a 21-18 21-15 loss to Lakshya Sen.
Four years ago in Gold Coast, India took their maiden team gold at the first time of asking. Led by the soon-to-be men’s singles world No.1 Kidambi Srikanth, they beat Malaysia who had won the previous three editions, 3-1 in the final.
Before today’s repeat gold medal clash, Singapore and four-time winners England will contest the bronze medal playoff at the National Exhibition Centre.