A vociferous crowd failed to inspire India as the hosts went down fighting to Malaysia 1-3 in the finals of the mixed badminton event to settle for a silver in the Commonwealth Games at the Siri Fort sport complex in New Delhi on Friday.
World No 3 Saina Nehwal was the only one to post a win in the summit clash beating Mew Choo Wong 24-26, 21-17, 21-13 in the third tie after mixed doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and V Diju went down fighting to Kien Keat Koo and Ee Hui Chin 14-21, 21-10, 10-21 and P Kashyap lost 18-21, 7-21 to World No 1 Lee Chong Wei in the men's singles.
Up against the world number one men's doubles pair of Kien Keat Koon and Boon Heong Tan, Rupesh Kumar and Sanave Thomas tried their best before losing 12-21, 19-21 as defending champion Malaysia retained their title in the mixed event of the Commonwealth Games.
A day after making their maiden final appearance in the mixed event of the Games, India needed a miracle to get past Malaysia but with Jwala-Diju losing a marathon battle against Kien and Ee Hui Chin meant India started on a wrong foot.
In a fast-paced game, Jwala-Diju trailed right from the beginning and could not catch up with the 5-11 deficit in the break and lost the first game. In the next game, they got their acts together and opened a lead of 6-3 and hold their fort to make it one-all.
But the Indians failed to slow down the game in the third game and fell in the trap set by the Malaysians as Jwala's game crumbled and they saw the third game slip from their hand.
"We made too many mistakes and couldn't slow down the game. We had strategies but failed to apply them. I got confused as Chin was a lefty and I haven't played them before. They were putting the shuttle on me and put pressure on me," Jwala said.
The loss, however, didn't discourage the crowd as they cheered their lungs out when Kashyap took the court. Kashyap too started on a very positive note, matching Lee's strokes but the world number one fetched from his experience to outclass him in the end.
"The first game was crucial as I played a lot of drops and rallies but once I lost it he became confident and he started playing late shots and dribbles to break my rhythm. He was giving me midcourt shots and was ready for my smashes. I fall in that trap," Kashyap said.
With India trailing 0-2, the onus was on Saina to give the hosts a glimpse of hope and the Indian delivered but only after an energy-sapping 65-minute battle with Mew which saw the fortunes fluctuating too often.
After Mew pipped her in the first game, Saina started playing more long rallies and pushed her rival to make mistakes and the strategy worked as Mew started tiring down to allow Saina register her fifth win over the Malaysian this year.
"She has a very good straight game and so I played more cross court shots and long rallies to make her run. I was not getting points from my smashes and so I waited for points and it worked. This is my fifth win over her in this year," Saina said.
Lagging 1-2, Rupesh-Sanave faced Tan and Boon but the Indian pair couldn't get their rivals, whom they were facing for the first time as India settled for their first silver in mixed event.
Earlier, England beat Singapore 3-1 in the third place play off to win the bronze.