Boon Heong: Malaysia can get the better of Indonesia if they work as a unit

PETALING JAYA: It’s all going to come down to teamwork if Malaysia meet Indonesia in the knockout stages of the Thomas Cup Finals from April 27-May 5 in Chengdu, China.

Former national doubles player Tan Boon Heong (pic) says if the clash were to happen, the odds might be more in Malaysia’s favour.

“I think Malaysia have a slightly higher chance of winning but the most important thing is they must have teamwork during the tournament.

“With teamwork, it will really help build our players’ confidence,” he said.

Boon Heong was part of the 2014 Thomas Cup squad, who beat Indonesia at the biennial tournament.

The neighbouring countries met in the semi-finals of the tournament held in India, and Malaysia went on to win 3-0.

Boon Heong played the 2014 Thomas Cup with former partner Hoon Thien How as a scratch pair and caused an upset to Mohd Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan.

Looking at the current doubles line-up for both countries, Boon Heong says it could go either way as the head-to-head is quite even.

“It’s a 50-50 game for the doubles. It all comes down to their performance on that day. It’s hard to say if our players can win against them,” he said.

Malaysia will be fielding world No. 5 Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik, alongside Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani (No. 15), while Indonesia will have Fajar Alfian-Rian Ardianto (No. 7) and Shohibul Fikri-Bagas Maulana (No. 9).

Since 2014, Malaysia have lost the following two encounters at the 2018 and 2020 editions.

The Indonesian team went on to win the title in Aarhus, Denmark, in 2021.

The Indonesian singles players set to play in Chengdu were part of the 2021 winning team, with Jonatan Christie taking the lead as the first singles, while Anthony Ginting and Chico Aura will take second and third place respectively.

The absence of Ng Tze Yong leaves Leong Jun Hao in second singles spot and he will have a tough task against Chico if the first singles fixture between Lee Zii Jia and Anthony goes to the Indonesian.

Indonesia will be out for revenge this time in Chengdu as they couldn’t defend their title against India at the 2022 edition in Bangkok, Thailand.

The fight between Indonesia and India is set to be a heated affair as they are both in Group C with Thailand and England for company while Malaysia are in Group D with Denmark, Hong Kong, and Algeria.

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