England, Malaysia to clash for badminton team gold
England's Chris Adcock (L) and Andrew Ellis during a Thomas Cup badminton match in New Delhi on May 18, 2014 - by Sajjad Hussain
Despite the comfortable scoreline, it was anything but, with several close games throughout.
Chris Adcock was the English hero with two victories, first with wife Gabriel in the mixed doubles, and then alongside Andrew Ellis in the men's doubles.
The Adcock pairing were in control leading 21-16, 15-8 but they lost 12 of the next 13 points to present Akshay Dewalkar and Jwala Gutta a way back into the match.
However they regained their composure to close out the final game 21-11.
Rajiv Ouseph battled hard to beat Kashyap Parupalli in the men's singles with a 21-16, 21-19 success and then the men's doubles settled matters in front of another supportive crowd.
Dewalkar and Pranaav Chopra took the opening game 21-12 but Adcock and Ellis produced some inspired badminton in the second game, including winning a 82 stroke rally, before keeping their composure in the decider to win 21-16.
"We're still to drop a rubber on the way to the final," pointed out Chris Adcock. "That's an amazing achievement.
"In terms of performance I was pretty poor. They made us work pretty hard for that. There was a lot of hard work, mainly from Andy because I was just standing at the net most of the time."
"I'll be blunt, I was tired," added Ellis. "I was blowing. The Indian guys were exceptional. It's just relief.
"Chris spoke about how he started, but what shows a real world-class player, which Chris is, is how you finish a game. If you look at the last five or six rallies, Chris stepped up. That's what makes world-class players."
Ouseph was the only member of the English team in the last Commonwealth Games in Delhi where they won bronze and he believes defending champions Malaysia are now beatable.
"Malaysia have been pushed quite a lot in this tournament so far, they are probably not as strong as they have been previously. Why can't we push them all the way?"
"The final will be a really nice occasion and we want to set a few things straight from the last time we played against them."
Malaysia only progressed after an epic 3-2 victory over Singapore where Chan Peng Soon and Lai Pei Jing scrapped past Danny Chrisnanta and Vanessa Neo in a 17-21, 21-12, 21-14 decider win as the whole tie went down to the final game which lasted 67 minutes.
Chong Wei Feng, arguably the most senior member of the side with a singles world ranking of 20, was comfortably the most impressive performer of the match as he beat Derek Wong 21-9, 21-18, but he is refusing to underestimate England.
"The final will be tough," he said.
The bronze medal will be decided in a match between Singapore and India on Monday morning before England and Malaysia do battle later in the afternoon.
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