A hapless Scotland badminton team was no match to the star-studded Indian line-up which demolished their opponents 5-0 at the Carrara Sports Arena to top their group and progressed into the quarterfinals of the mixed team event at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 2018. The Indian team spearheaded by London Olympics bronze medallist Saina Nehwal and world number 2 Kidambi Srikanth got better of the Scottish in all five categories continuing their flawless winning run. Starting the proceedings in spectacular fashion Saina Nehwal outclassed Julie Macpherson 21-14, 21-12 in the women’s singles category to give India a 1-0 lead.
Taking the baton from Saina, Kidambi Srikanth after a hard-fought first game came back stronger to blank Kieran Merrilees 21-18, 21-2 in the men’s singles category. India’s women’s doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy had an easy stride against Kirsty Gilmour and Eleanor O’Donnell as they defeated them 21-8, 21-12 in a ruthless manner to extend the lead to 3-0 for India. Satwik Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty were the next ones to take the court in the men’s doubles match, they made it 4-0 for India after hammering Patrick Machugh and Adam Hall 21-16, 21-19. The mixed doubles pair of Pranaav Chopra and N. Sikki Reddy wrapped up the 5-0 rout over Scotland with a 21-17, 21-15 thrashing of Martin Campbell and Julie Macpherson.
Saina Nehwal had to tussle hard in the opening encounter against Julie as she struggled in the first set, the Scotish shuttler made it 6-6 to bring it levels before Saina upped the ante and clinched the game 18-14. The Olympics medallist was near flawless in the second game as she acclaimed a formidable lead of 11-5 before extending it to 16-5. Julie tested Saina resilience towards the end of the second games but the Indian managed to pocket it 21-12 and wrapped her win inside 36 minutes to begin things in style for India.
Srikanth started off in an ordinary manner trailing 1-4 against Merrilees but the Glasgow bronze medallist showed his attacking prowess in the second set and dominated the game in spectacular fashion. He covered up in the first set with an 8-5 lead and maintained it till the end to bag the game 18-21. It was the second game which Srikanth owned by taking a formidable lead of 11-0. He stretched the lead to 17-1 before flooring Merrilees 21-1 in the second set to assert India’s lead to 2-0.
Ashwini Ponappa and Sikki gave India an unassailable lead of 3-0 after an exciting battle which lasted for 27 minutes. The Indian duo emerged on top of their game in the first half with a convincing victory of 21-8. The second set was no different with Kirsty Gilmour and Eleanor O’Donnell having no answer to Ponappa and Sikki’s brilliance as the game ended 21-12 in India’s favour.
Indian men’s double team of Satwik and Chirag had to put up a tough fight against Patrick and Adam but they managed to clinch the match in straight sets. Pranaav and Sikki with a 21-17, 21-15 victory wrapped up another solid show by the Indian badminton team in Gold Coast. Earlier Srikanth and Saina had led India to a magnificent 5-0 double against Sri Lanka and Pakistan on day 1 of the extravaganza.