The Indian men's team assured itself of a medal after progressing to the semifinals with a thrilling 3-2 win over Thailand at the Badminton Asia Team Championships on Friday.
After star shuttlers Kidambi Srikanth and B Sai Praneeth faced reversals in the first two singles ties, India fought back to win the next three ties, which included a single and two doubles rubbers, to prevail over Thailand in the quarterfinals and set up a meeting with two-time defending champions Indonesia.
The men's team had last won a bronze medal in Hyderabad in the 2016 edition of the tournament. World Championships bronze medallist B Sai Praneeth started the proceedings, but his gallant effort ended in a 14-21 21-14 12-21 loss to world No. 12 Kantaphon Wangcharoen, as India lagged 0-1.
In the second singles, former world No. 1 Srikanth went down 20-22 14-21 to Kunlavut Vitidsarn, a three-time world junior champion, as India slipped to 0-2. The pairing of MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila kept India in the hunt with a 21-18 22-20 win over Kittinupong Kedren and Tanupat Viriyangkura in the first doubles. Young Lakshya Sen, who had a stellar run in 2019, then registered a 21-19 21-18 win over world No. 45 Suppanyu Avihingsanon, as India drew level at 2-2.
It then all boiled down to the makeshift pair of Chirag Shetty and Srikanth and the Indian duo dished out a superb game to outwit Maneepong Jongjit and Nipitphon Phuangphuapet 21-15 16-21 21-15 in the second doubles in the decider.