The Golden Girls fought valiantly, but at the end of the day, Australia were the better team and proceeded to the final of the Women's Hockey competition at the Commonwealth Games.
The Indians were clinical with their passing in their own half and excelled in defence, warding off a barrage of attacks from the Australian strikers. Sunita Lakra and Deep Grace Ekka looked calm, composed, and disciplined against their higher-ranked counterparts and Australia looked a wee-bit frustrated towards the end of the first half as they were unable to find the net.
As expected, the Aussies came hard at India in the second half with a wave of attacks. India's staunch resistance finally crumbled as Grace Stewart's shot beat Savita Punia who had a good match otherwise. Charged up by the opening goal, the Australians upped the ante and kept the Indians pegged back in their own half.
The only chances which India had were just after the opening whistle and at the fag end of the contest. The Australians neutralized India's PC option by charging down to deny drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur and there was little else India could do to penetrate the formidable Aussie defence.
Indian fans are heartbroken, no doubt, but all is not lost and Harendra Singh's team can still win the bronze medal at Gold Coast. India had beaten England 2-1 in the group stages and will look for a repeat of the same performance early tomorrow morning.
For the manner in which the Indians have performed thus far, they richly deserve a podium finish and Rani Rampal will look to inspire her team to do just that. A bronze medal in the Commonwealth Games will go a long way in providing a much-needed boost to women's hockey in India, and who knows that better than coach Harendra Singh.
"The need of the hour is a medal around their neck," said Harendra. "The girls deserve it."
Here is how you can follow the action.
Event: Women's Hockey
Venue: Gold Coast
Date: 14 April 2018
Time: 6:00 a.m. Indian Standard Time (IST)
Telecast: Sony Six/Sony Ten 2/Sony Ten 3
Live Streaming: Sony Liv
Live Updates: Sportskeeda