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HS Prannoy, Satwiksairaj-Chirag Shetty Assure India Of Asian Games Medals, PV Sindhu Bows Out In Quarterfinals

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HS Prannoy battled his way to the semifinals, becoming only the first Indian in 41 years to win a badminton medal in men’s singles at the Asian Games, but it was curtains for PV Sindhu in women’s singles in Hangzhou on Thursday. Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty then progressed to the last four, becoming the second Indian men’s doubles pair to secure a medal after Leroy D’sa and Pradeep Gandhe won a bronze in 1982. Playing with a taping on his lower back and a belt under his shirt, Prannoy battled severe back spasm to dish out a performance for the ages, outshining Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia 21-16 21-23 22-20 in the quarterfinals to assure India a second badminton medal at the ongoing Games. (Asian Games 2023 Medals Tally | Asian Games 2023 Full Schedule)

India had won a silver in men’s team championships last Sunday.

“I think it was a really tough one out there. I think Lee is always a tough opponent. It was a very physical match today for me,” Prannoy said after the match.

“I’m not at all in a condition where I could say I’m 80 per cent right. But I think to pull off something like this, I would give a lot of credit to myself. I think the will to fight was always there. So I think that paid off.” Prannoy will face home favourite China’s Li Shi Feng for a spot in the final.

Satwik and Chirag then claimed a men’s doubles medal after 41 years with an easy 21-7 21-9 win over Singapore’s Nge Joo Jie and Johann Prajogo in the quarterfinals to set up a clash with Malaysia’s Aaron Chia and Sooh Wooi Yik on Friday.

However, Sindhu had to endure the pain of returning without a medal for the first time in nine years after she lost 16-21 12-21 to world No.5 Chinese He Bingjiao in 47 minutes to bow out of the competition.

After fighting his way through a marathon 78-minute contest, the 31-year-old Prannoy from Kerala fell on the court in disbelief. He then removed his shirt, fist-pumped and ran into the arms of chief coach Pullela Gopichand.

Prannoy thus ended India’s long wait for a men’s singles medal at the Asian Games with Syed Modi winning the first — a bronze — at the 1982 edition in New Delhi.

The world championships bronze medallist was ruled out of team championships final due to the back injury, as India went down 2-3 to China, to settle for a silver.

“It is affecting me. But that’s how sport is. You can’t be 100 per cent every day. But you have to learn to pull off matches even when you’re 60 or 70 per cent. I think today was one of those days when I had to do that,” he said.

Prannoy displayed his mental fortitude as he rallied his way from a 5-11 deficit to grab the opening game and then had two match points in the second only to see it slip away.

But Prannoy quickly wiped the slate clean and once again fought his way back in the decider, saved two match points with his booming smashes and deceptions to register a great victory.

Prannoy had beaten Lee, a former All England Champion, at the Badminton Asia Championships in Dubai but he didn’t have a good start.

However, the Indian managed to erase a six-point deficit at the break to grab four game points with Lee faltering with his length and going long and wide. He converted at the first chance.

Prannoy used his drops and deceptions to vary the pace of the rallies and lead 7-4 before taking a two point lead at interval. Lee fought his way to a 15-13 lead before the Indian regained his lead with three successive points and soon stood just two points away from a win at 20-18.

However, a couple of net cords went the Malaysian’s way as Lee drew level and earned a game point at 22-21. He took the match to the decider after Prannoy found the net.

Prannoy lagged 2-4 early in the third game. He then tried to prolong the rallies with deep tosses but he lacked the finishing, often hitting the net or wide as Lee lead 7-4.

However, he once again scripted a recovery to claw back at 8-8 before Lee committed few unforced errors as the Indian lead 11-10 at the break.

A perfect net shot after a long rally took Prannoy to 13-10. Two deep smashes on both sides took him to 15-13. But Lee kept breathing down his neck and made it 16-16.

Struggling with his back, Prannoy then called for a medical time out for applying magic spray.

On resumption, Lee stepped up the pace and unleashed a body smash and another smash on Prannoy’s backhand to pull away.

A long rally ensued at 18-19 as Lee came up with a smash to gain two match points. Prannoy then sent two accurate cross hits to make it 20-20. He then gained one match point and converted with another precise smash.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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Smriti Mandhana Gifts Wheelchair-Bound Girl Mobile Phone After India Match In Asia Cup

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Smriti Mandhana (right) with a differently-abled girl.© X/@OfficialSLC




In a heartwarming gesture, star India batter Smriti Mandhana gifted a wheelchair-bound girl a mobile phone after the team’s match at the ongoing women’s T20 Asia Cup tournament in Dambulla. Adeesha Herath, who came to the stadium escorted by her mother in a wheelchair, experienced a pleasant surprise as Mandhana came to meet her and presented her a phone. “Adeesha Herath’s love for cricket brought her to the stadium, despite all the challenges. The highlight of her day? A surprise encounter with her favourite cricketer, Smriti Mandhana, who handed her a mobile phone as a token of appreciation,” Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) said in a tweet.

In the video posted along with the tweet, Mandhana was heard asking the girl her name.

“You like cricket, that is nice. You enjoyed today’s match. I have brought a gift for you from all of us,” Mandhana told the girl, before having a high-five with her and posing for a photograph.

The girl’s mother said it was an unexpected gift.

“We came to watch the match unexpectedly, as my daughter wanted to go for the match. We met Mandhana madam from Indian team and my daughter received a phone from her. It was unexpected and my daughter is so lucky to receive this gift from her,” she said.

India beat arch rivals Pakistan by seven wickets on Friday in their opening match. They are up against United Arab Emirates on Sunday.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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Sri Lanka Beat Bangladesh By 7 Wickets In Women’s T20 Asia Cup

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Hosts Sri Lanka started their campaign in the Women’s T20 Asia Cup on a positive note, beating Bangladesh by seven wickets in Dambulla on Saturday. After restricting Bangladesh to a modest 111 for eight, Sri Lanka completed the task with 17 balls to spare, reaching 114/3 in 17.1 overs. Opting to bat first, Bangladesh were off to a disastrous start and lost three wickets with just six runs on the board. It soon became 17/4, and then 48/5, before skipper Nigar Sultana steadied the sinking ship with a 48-run knock that came off 59 balls and included six boundaries.

Down the order, Shorna Akter contributed a brisk 14-ball 25 as Bangladesh crossed 100.

Udeshika Prabodhani (2/20) and Inoshi Priyadharshani (2/17) grabbed two wickets each for Sri Lanka, while there was one apiece for Sugandika Kumari, Kavisha Dilhari and Chamari Athapaththu.

As far as Sri Lanka batting was concerned, opener Vishmi Gunaratne was the highest scorer with 51 off 48 balls, hitting seven fours and a six in her knock.

Harshitha Samarawickrama chipped in with 33 in 31 balls and got out with her team on the doorstep of victory.

Nahida Akter was the best bowler for Bangladesh, finishing with fine figures of 3/12 in her quota of four overs.

Thailand defeat Malaysia

In the day’s first match, Thailand got the better of Malaysia by 22 runs.

Batting first, Thailand posted 133 for six after wicketkeeper Nannapat Koncharoenkai top-scored with a 35-ball 40, while Phannita Maya chipped in with 29 in 28 deliveries.

Mahirah Izzati Ismail was the most successful bowler for Malaysia, returning excellent figures of 3/16 in four overs.

Mahirah’s effort, however, went in vain as Thailand restricted their opponents to 111 for eight in the allotted 20 overs, despite a half century from opener Wan Julia (52 off 53 balls).

Captain Winifred Duraisingam made 22 in 28 balls at the top of the order while being associated in a 68-run first-wicket partnership with Julia.

The Malaysian batting, however, collapsed after that as Thailand produced a disciplined show with the ball to emerge victorious.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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“Very Slim Chances”: Ex-Pakistan Board Chief’s Blunt Admission On India Travelling For Champions Trophy

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File photo of an India vs Pakistan match© AFP




Former Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Khalid Mahmood believes India will not travel to Pakistan for the ICC Champions Trophy early next year. “They are very very slim chances they will agree to play in Pakistan,” Mahmood, who is a retired senior bureaucrat, said. He, however, said that if India doesn’t visit Pakistan, it would be a non-profitable deal for PCB and the ICC.

“India is the richest cricket board and carries a lot of clout. If they don’t send their team to Pakistan I foresee even countries like Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Bangladesh following their path,” Mahmood said.

“This would basically reduce the Champions Trophy into a venture where revenues will take a hit, expenses will grow and profits would fall,” Mahmood, who twice went to India in 1989 and 1999 as Pakistan’s junior and senior team manager, said.

Mahmood said that PCB should just follow their policy of not mixing sports and politics.

“Look the thing is at this level you can only lobby and try to convince other boards to be on your side. India has too much clout in the ICC it would do no good for Pakistan to adopt a tit for tat strategy.” “Thing is when the BCCI says it can’t send its team and will play its matches outside Pakistan, it does reduce the purpose for Pakistan of hosting an ICC event,” he added.

The Champions Trophy is scheduled to be held from February 19 to March 9 next year.

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