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Continuing their fine run, India defeat New Zealand 'A' 2-1 in the final hockey practice match

  • The Indian Men’s Hockey team maintained their intensity in the last warm-up match today and overcame a fighting performance by the New Zealand A team. In Auckland, the “Men in Blue” prepared for the forthcoming test series against New Zealand by recording a 2-1 victory.
Ram Kumar
FEATURED WRITER
News
Modified 05 Oct 2015, 15:53 IST
SK Uthappa
SK Uthappa scored both the goals in India’s triumph

The Indian Men’s Hockey team maintained their intensity in the last warm-up match today and overcame a fighting performance by the New Zealand A team. In Auckland, the “Men in Blue” prepared for the forthcoming test series against New Zealand by recording a 2-1 victory. A brace by the 23-year old SK Uthappa sealed the match for India.

Yesterday, the tourists had brushed aside the New Zealand A side by a margin of 3-1 in the opening practice match.

The first quarter saw the buoyant Indians beginning with purpose and SV Sunil’s brilliant run culminated in a precise pass to Nikkin Thimmiah who then helped SK Uthappa to an early goal. The rapid 5th minute shot from the Coorg-born youngster enabled India to gain an expeditious advantage in the match. The home team custodian was left undone by the dexterity of his effort. The visitors kept constant possession with neatly executed passes. At the end of the quarter, India were in the lead.

In the second quarter, India looked for more scoring opportunities as they pressed forward in numbers. But New Zealand A managed to match the pace of their opponents and prevented India from scoring again. As half-time loomed, the score-line was still at 1-0.

The goal-scorer Uthappa was in the scheme of things, even during the penultimate quarter and he once again outclassed the Kiwi defense to double India’s tally. Having entered the circle, he dribbled past the defenders and got past the goal-keeper to score his 2nd goal of the match. India gained a penalty corner in the dying seconds of the third quarter. But, they could not convert the opportunity into another goal.

In the concluding quarter, New Zealand A wasted a penalty corner by ramming the ball straight into Indian goal-keeper PR Sreejesh’s body who easily dealt with the attempt. Eventually, the hosts’ perseverance paid off when Stephen Jenness who was part of the 2012 New Zealand Olympic squad, slotted one into India’s net. With only a goal adrift, New Zealand A sensed an opportunity to draw level. But, India held on to the lead and finished with a 2-1 win.

The 4-match test series between New Zealand and India will begin on October 6 at 11:30 AM IST in Nelson.

Match Number Date Venue Local Time Indian Standard Time
1 October 6 Nelson 19 00 PM 11 30 AM
2 October 7 Nelson 19 00 PM 11 30 AM
3 October 9 Christchurch 20 00 PM 12 30 PM
4 October 11 Christchurch 13 00 PM 05 30 AM
Published 03 Oct 2015, 14:35 IST
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