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CWG 2022: 3 best wins for the Indian men's hockey team at the Commonwealth Games

The Bharat Army have won two silver medals at the CWG and will look to add to that tally this year.
The Bharat Army have won two silver medals at the CWG and will look to add to that tally this year.
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Subhashish Majumdar

The Indian men's hockey team are all set to make their fifth appearance at the Commonwealth Games that begins in just over two weeks.

They reached the finals in 2010 and 2014 only to suffer heavy defeats against six-time champions Australia on both occasions. After a disappointing campaign in 2018 when they finished fourth, the Olympic bronze-medalists will aim to be back on the podium at Birmingham.

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Hockey was introduced at the Commonwealth Games in 1998. The Indians played their first-ever match against the mighty Kookaburras, a team they have yet to beat in the competition.

Although the Men in Blue have failed to go the distance thus far, they have registered a few memorable wins over the years. Let's take a look at three of the best wins for the Indian men's hockey team at the Commonwealth Games.


#3 India vs New Zealand, 1998 CWG, Kuala Lumpur

The Men in Blue beat New Zealand in a must-win encounter to find a place in the CWG SF all the way back in 1998.
The Men in Blue beat New Zealand in a must-win encounter to find a place in the CWG SF all the way back in 1998.

India notched up three straight wins against South Africa, Wales, and minnows Trinidad at the 1998 Commonwealth Games. However, Dhanraj Pillai and co. still needed to beat New Zealand in their last league match to assure themselves of a place in the semifinals.

Mohammed Riaz restored parity for the Men in Blue through a penalty corner just minutes after the the Black Sticks had taken the lead in the 23rd minute. There was little to choose between the two sides at the end of the first half but the Indian skipper came into his own after a long breather to set up Mukesh Kumar.

The three-time Olympian put his team ahead in the 55th minute before Dhanraj Pillai sealed New Zealand's fate with a brilliant effort.

Thanks to the 3-1 scoreline, the Men in Blue advanced to the semifinals. However, they failed to get past Malaysia in the last four despite dominating their Asian rivals for a large part of the encounter. They also fell to a defeat in the third-place playoff against England to end their campaign without a medal.


#2 India vs New Zealand, 2014 CWG, Glasgow

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The 2010 silver medalists were on the backfoot even before the contest started with captain Sardar Singh set to serve a one-match suspension. As expected, they struggled as the semifinal against New Zealand got underway in Glasgow.

Simon Child got one past PR Sreejesh less than three minutes into the match. Sreejesh was notably quick to demonstrate to a smiling Adam Kearns as to why he wanted the first goal referred. However, the video umpire saw no reason to overturn the initial verdict.

Nick Haig added to New Zealand's tally as the Black Sticks led 2-0 in the 18th minute to put the Men in Blue in a spot of bother.

They finally got some respite when Rupinder Singh scored off a penalty stroke after Raghunath's PC was body-stopped on the line. Ramandeep Singh then drew his side level in the second half with a deft touch that made its way into the New Zealand goal.

A spectacular, diving tomahawk from Akashdeep Singh in the 47th minute was enough to see the Indians through to the finals at the Glasgow Hockey Center. However, Chris Ciriello's stunning PC hattrick helped Australia win gold for the fifth time in the competition.


#1 India vs Pakistan, 2010 CWG, Delhi

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After failing to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the Indian men's hockey team went through a lackluster period. They then got to host the Hockey World Cup and the Commonwealth Games in 2010.

A disappointing eighth-place finish at the Delhi World Cup did little to add to the optimism ahead of CWG. However, it also gave the Men in Blue a second chance to resurrect themselves at home.

They faced arch rivals Pakistan in front of a sell-out crowd at the Dhyan Chand Stadium in their final match of the group stage, having registered two wins and a loss. The Men in Green also boasted a similar record.

The hosts wasted little time in stamping their authority as Sandeep Singh brought the crowd to their feet by converting a penalty corner in the third minute.

The ace drag-flicker scored a second in the 11th minute after his side had won three more PCs in the interim. The visitors, meanwhile, struggled to stop the relentless onslaught.

Hockey fans enjoyed a field day as the Men in Blue thrashed Pakistan at Delhi in the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
Hockey fans enjoyed a field day as the Men in Blue thrashed Pakistan at Delhi in the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

Sandeep Singh helped Shivendra Singh score India's third from open play. Sarvanjit Singh then drove a PC deflection into the net as the Indians appeared to be in control at 4-0.

Not to be undone, Pakistan found a way back after earning a penalty stroke that followed a penalty corner infringement. Muhammad Imran beat Indian goalkeeper Bharat Chetri while Muhammad Rizwan silenced the Indian crowd as the Men in Green scored a second before half-time.

Despite leading 4-2 at the break, the hosts had reason to worry as Pakistan required only a draw to advance to the semifinals. Rajpal Singh and co., meanwhile, needed an outright win.

Danish Mujtaba consolidated India's lead in the second half by scoring off a PC rebound. Dharamvir Singh added to Pakistan's woes by scoring a peach of a field goal as the hosts led 6-2 in the 45th minute.

Muhammad Irfan gave Pakistan a glimmer of hope by scoring his team's third goal in the 58th minute. However, Shivendra Singh's instant reply a minute later effectively sealed the deal for his side.

Abbasi's goal came too late for Pakistan, who fell to a comprehensive defeat.
Abbasi's goal came too late for Pakistan, who fell to a comprehensive defeat.

Wily striker Shakeel Abbasi scored Pakistan's fourth goal as late as the 68th minute. However, the Men in Blue secured a 7-4 win and marched into the semifinals to the tune of "Chak De India" blaring out in the stands.

After edging out England on penalty strokes in the semifinals, the hosts lost 0-4 to Australia in the final. But victory against Pakistan captured the imagination of the nation, putting hockey back on the sporting radar.


Edited by Anantaajith Ra
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