2016 Hawke's Bay Cup: India finish 6th after close tie with Ireland
After finishing 7th in the earlier edition of the tournament, the Indian team had already done one better by making it to today's 5th/6th qualification game with a 1-0 victory over Canada on Saturday.
It was a rematch of their Pool B fixture from the previous Sunday which had seen the Baggy Greens clinch a 4-0 triumph. Going up against an upbeat Irish side coming from yesterday's nail-biter, the Indians had everything to play for as they took the field.
The hunger was apparent as India took control in the very first quarter, darting forward at every opening in their bid to find a breakthrough. First blood, however, was drawn by Ireland as Deirdre Duke found the back of the net in the 19th minute.
As the Indians' resolve tightened, they bounced back with the equalizer in the 25th minute, halfback Namita Toppo scoring for the Whites.
An eventful 2nd quarter led to the scoreline reading 1-1 at half-time
A goalless second half meant that there was nothing to separate the two sides at the end of regulation time.
The game headed into a shootout to decide the winner. India failed to capitalize on keeper Savita's save off the 3rd Irish penalty and could only manage three conversions in reply to Ireland's four.
A defeat on the final day, it was no less of a fascinating display by the Indian team. The team will now look to build on the momentum gathered in the last two games, ahead of Rio, after a series of defeats in the initial stages of the tournament had pushed them on the backfoot.
At Rio, India will compete alongside Argentina, Australia, Britain, Japan and the US in Pool B.