The Indian girls got off to a near-perfect start in a quest to better their bronze-medal finish which they had achieved at Incheon in 2014. The Indonesians did offer some resistance, particularly, with some dogged defending, to deny Rani Rampal and co. on quite a few occasions.
Indonesian goalie Selly Florentina made some outstanding saves to restrict the Indian tally to 8 goals when it could have been much higher considering the fact that the Golden Girls were lodged in the opposition circle for pretty much the entire match.
At the other end, Savita and Rajani had little to do as the hosts made occasional forays into Indian territory and most often lost possession long before they could pose the slightest threat to the Indian citadel. The Indians also earned a barrage of back-to-back PCs and Gurjit Kaur found the mark thrice with some powerful strikes.
The Indian defence can expect a bit more action on Tuesday, as Kazakhstan is a far more accomplished side than Indonesia. The Kazakhs made their Asian Games field hockey debut in 1998 at Bangkok where they finished 6th but missed out in the next two editions.
At Guangzhou in 2010, the Kazakh girls returned but lost all their six pool matches. Indian captain Rani Rampal was just 15 when she scored a hattrick to help her team win 6-0 against Kazakhstan. Incidentally, Deepika Thakur and Rani are the only members of that team who are still in action for the Indians at Jakarta.
Four years back, at Incheon, the Kazakh girls managed to beat Hong Kong 5-0 but suffered heavy defeats against South Korea and Japan in Pool B. The Indians were placed in Pool A in the 2014 Games and the two sides did not meet.
At the quarterfinal of the Asia Cup last year, Gurjit Kaur was in ominous form as she powered her side to a 7-1 win against Kazakhstan with a PC hattrick while Deep Grace and Navneet Kaur scored a brace each. The Kazhaks subsequently beat Singapore to avoid the wooden spoon while the Indians went on to win a historic gold.
Captain Gataulina Natalya powered her team to a 3-1 win in their opening encounter against Thailand and the Indians can ill afford to concede too many penalty corners against the Kazhaks who converted 2 of the 3 PCs they earned.
Indian coach Sjoerd Marijne was pleased with the performance of the girls in their opener but did want them to play faster, and also pass and run more often. In spite of a big win on Sunday night, the Indian girls could have done a lot better in the attacking circle and will be looking to improve as the tournament progresses.
Here is how you can catch all the action
Event: Asian Games 2018
Venue: Jakarta, Indonesia
Date: 21 August 2018
Time: 6:30 pm Indian Standard Time (IST)
Telecast: Sony ESPN, Sony Ten 2, Ten 2 HD, Sony ESPN HD
Live Streaming: Sony Liv
Live Updates: SportskeedaPublished 20 Aug 2018, 21:11 IST