India created badminton history, shocking 14-time champions Indonesia 3-0 in the final to win the Thomas Cup for the first time, in Bangkok, on Sunday.
Lakshya Sen, Kidambi Srikanth and the doubles combination of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty turned in superlative performances in their respective matches to earn the underdogs an unexpected, thumping victory.
World No. 9 Sen, who was laid low by food poisoning at the start of the tournament, won the opening singles, rallying splendidly after losing the first game, to beat world No. 4 Anthony Ginting 8-21, 21-17, 21-16 and give India the lead in the final.
Then, the doubles combination of Rankireddy and Shetty also overcame the loss of the opening game and saved four match-points in the second to get the better of Mohammad Ahsan and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo 18-21, 23-21, 21-19 and register the most sensational victory of their career and put India 2-0 up in the contest.
Next up, Srikanth took on Christie in the second singles. The Indian raced to an 8-2 lead before Christie levelled at 9.
Srikanth used the toss and drop effectively to regain the lead and extended it to 15-11, but the Indonesian, who had 5-4 record going into the match and two close victories over Srikanth this year, fought back to cut the deficit to 14-15.
But that was all the leeway the Indonesian was allowed as Srikanth raced away with the next points to take the first game 21-15.
It was neck and neck battle in the second game till 7-all as the lead kept changing hands. Srikanth then stepped up the pace and led 11-7 and 13-10. The Indonesian fought back, levelled the score and led 17-15.
Srikanth did well to draw level at 18 and forge ahead 19-18. Christie made 19-all and moved to game point. Srikanth saved two game points before sealing the contest 23-21.
It was a memorable triumph for India. While Indonesia made the final with an unbeaten record, India lost just one match -- to Chinese Taipei -- in the group stage.
In 30 Thomas Cup tournaments since 1948–1949, only five countries have won it. Indonesia is the most successful team, having won 14 times.
China, who did not compete till 1982, have 10 titles. Malaysia have won the Cup five times and Japan and Denmark once each.