Commonwealth Games: Malaysian test awaits Scots

Hosts Scotland were due to take on Malaysia, while England were paired with surprise quarter-finalists Sri Lanka in the last eight of the Commonwealth Games badminton team event.

Kieran Merrilees of Scotland. Picture: Getty
Kieran Merrilees of Scotland. Picture: Getty
Kieran Merrilees of Scotland. Picture: Getty

England rubber-stamped their place alongside the Scots in the knockout stages at the Emirates Arena by completing formalities in their group with a 5-0 rout of Mauritius yesterday morning.

They were then drawn against Sri Lanka, who did not even realise they had qualified for the quarter-finals as one of the best runners-up until just before the draw was made.

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Sri Lanka finished second to Malaysia in the competition’s only three-team group after losing to the powerhouse nation 5-0 in their last fixture.

With the other five groups containing four teams – in which results against bottom teams would be discarded – they then faced an anxious wait while recalculations were made to see if they had gone through.

In the end, with matches won and games difference level, it came down to points difference and the Sri Lankans’ superior score of plus 50 edged New Zealand’s plus 26.

Sri Lanka’s players and officials shouted with joy when sheets with details for the quarter-final draw were handed round.

Team official Peter Higman said: “We’re over the moon. We thought we would have to have won a match against Malaysia to have a chance. We didn’t realise we would have a chance if we didn’t.

“It was a tough draw against Malaysia, they’re one of the best teams in the world, so to have another chance in this competition – we’re ecstatic.”

Sri Lanka’s team does contain some experience, most notably in brothers Niluka and Dinuka Karunaratne. The former is ranked 98 in the world in men’s singles and reached the last 16 at London 2012.

England national coach Pete Jeffrey said: “We had to wait a bit for the draw, but it’s a good one for us.

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“They’re probably the weakest of the teams left but we won’t take anything for granted.”

Victory for England could see them come up against India or Canada in the semi-finals. The other quarter-final will be between Singapore and the other best 
runner-up, Australia.

England, who rested their top doubles players, were barely extended by Mauritius as they secured top spot in Group F.

Rajiv Ouseph saw off Georges Paul 21-10, 21-8 and Sarah Walker made easy work of Kate Foo Kune, winning 21-8, 21-9.

Chris Langridge and Peter Mills won in the men’s doubles, as did Kate Robertshaw and Heather Olver in the women’s pairs. Olver and Langridge then combined in the mixed to wrap up another comfortable win.

Jersey took second spot in the group after a 5-0 win over Northern Ireland, but it was not enough to claim a quarter-final place.