PAKISTAN’S Mohammad Irfan Saeed Bhatti competes against Jacob Schueler of Australia during their men’s singles match of the mixed badminton team event at NEC Arena on Saturday.—Courtesy CWG2022
PAKISTAN’S Mohammad Irfan Saeed Bhatti competes against Jacob Schueler of Australia during their men’s singles match of the mixed badminton team event at NEC Arena on Saturday.—Courtesy CWG2022

BIRMINGHAM: An improvement from Friday but a loss nonetheless.

A day after being blanked by India in their opening Group ‘A’ tie, Pakistan lost 3-2 to Australia in the mixed team badminton event of the Commonwealth Games on Saturday despite having taken a 2-1 lead after the opening three matches.

Pakistan were due to wrap up their team event against Sri Lanka later on Saturday with the team having no chance of progressing to the next round.

After Murad Ali and Ghazala Siddique had lost 21-17, 21-17 to Australians Jack Yu and Kaitlyn Ea in their opening mixed doubles, Mohammad Irfan Saeed Bhatti and Mahoor Shahzad won their singles matches to give Pakistan the lead.

First Irfan overcame Jacob Schueler 21-18, 21-16 before Mahoor earned a narrow 21-18, 21-19 win over Tiffany Ho.

However, the demands of playing multiple matches finally took its toll on Pakistan shuttlers.

Australia levelled matters when Yu and Tran Hoang Pham beat Murad and Irfan 21-11, 21-19 in the men’s doubles before Ea and Angela Yu gave Australia the victory when they crushed Mahoor and Ghazala 21-11, 21-6 in the women’s doubles.

Mahoor had complained about Pakistan’s lack of options during an interview with the Press Trust of India news agency following their loss to India.

“The other teams have eight players,” said Mahoor. “Here, four of us have to play all the games. I am a singles player but had to play in doubles and mixed doubles as well. It becomes difficult to focus on one.”

Published in Dawn, July 31st, 2022

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