The Indian women’s team rode on the prowess of their young guns to upset top seed Japan 3-2 and reach their first-ever final of the Badminton Asia Team Championships in Shah Alam, Malaysia, on Saturday.

The team, which had upset China in the group stage, once again punched above their weight to stun Japan in the semi-final.

Having reached the last four stage for the first time in the history of the tournament, the women needed a strong start from two-time Olympic medallist PV Sindhu but things did not go according to plan.

Sindhu began strong against Aya Ohori but a dip in concentration helped the Japanese take the opening game. The Indian star shuttler lost nine straight points at the start of the second game till she stitched together a run of nine points to draw level, going from 10-19 to 19-19. She did manage to save a match point but could not sustain the momentum and lost 21-13, 22-20.

The young doubles combination of Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand then had an uphill task of upsetting world No 6 pairing of Nami Matsuyama and Chiharu Shida to keep the team in the hunt and they delivered in what was the third meeting between the two teams.

Treesa and Gayatri began by winning the opening game but the experienced Japanese duo found a way to force the decider.

The Indians once again found a footing and opened up a 19-13 lead in the third game before the Japanese stormed back to tie proceedings at 20-20. But Gayatri and Treesa played two tight points to secure the win and level the tie at 1-1.

Ashmita Chaliha then rose to the occasion and was at her aggressive best to beat former world champion Nozomi Okuhara 21-17, 21-14 to put the Indians ahead.

Sindhu, who was also shouldering the responsibility of playing the second doubles, teamed up with Ashwini Ponnappa but the pair went down 14-21, 11-21 against world No 11 combination of Rena Miyaura and Ayako Sakuramoto.

This meant that national champion Anmol Kharab needed to once again shoulder the responsibility of seeing her team through and the 17-year-old came out with flying colours.

Playing in her first major senior event, the world no 472 hardly showed any nerves and dominated the proceedings for most part of her 52-minute clash against Natsuki Nidaira, ranked No 29 in the world, to win 21-14, 21-18 and seal the victory.

In the final, India will face Thailand, who defeated Indonesia 3-1 in the other semi-final.