Hockey at CWG 2018 : How the equations fit for the Indian women's team for the podium
With a shock win over England by 2-1, comprising a majority of the players from the Olympic champions Great Britain team, the Indian eves have ensured that they won't go out from the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 2018 that easily.
For coach Harendra Singh, this win, though significant, is not something to relax on. The final league match is where the Indian eves' abilities shall be put to test against South Africa, who had denied them a chance at the podium in the previous edition. The team had defeated India in a do or die encounter by 3-2
Let's have a look at the equations and combinations the Indian eves need to set right, if they wish to repeat the historic moment from Manchester 2002 edition, where they had won the gold medal.
The current position
As of now, going by the Pool B results, England are through to the semifinals, with a comfortable win over the Malaysian women's team by 3-0. They are on top of the pool table with 3 wins and a solitary loss to Team India. South Africa, who had lost 0-2 against England, is in the third place, with a draw, a loss and a win against the team of Wales.
India, as of now, stands second in the pool table, with two wins, and a shock loss to Wales. The women's team, coached by Harendra Singh, is only a win away from the semifinals.
India's acid test
An entry into the semifinals, however, won't be that easy. The Indian team now has its acid test against South Africa, the team against which India has had a seemingly mixed, but better record in the Commonwealth Games. In the previous encounters at the Commonwealth, India has won two times [Manchester 2002 and Delhi 2010], drew once [Melbourne 2006] and lost once [Glasgow 2014]. So on paper, the Indian eves look the better of the two.
However, when India meets South Africa in their final league match, they need to make sure that they don't lose in any circumstance, which will then see South Africa through to the semis.
However, there is some good news for the Indian team. Given that India has won twice, and South Africa only once in this tournament, even if India ekes out a draw against South Africa, that will still see them through the semifinals, since a draw will give South Africa a total of 5 points, while India will be ahead with a total of 7 points, a clear 2 point advantage.
So when the Indian team comes out against the Proteas, all they need to ensure is a minimum draw, though it would be nothing better if they win against the team, and top the pool table.
The road ahead
Once India enters the semifinals, if they finish second in the pool table, they shall face New Zealand, a team, though challenging is not invincible. However, if they finish at the top, India will have to play the match of their lives as they face the defending champions Australia, who've never lost since Melbourne 2006. However, given that Harendra Singh is well known for causing upsets at whim, it can be anybody's game at the end.
As India plays South Africa tomorrow, we wish the best of luck to our Indian eves and hope that they don't return without a medal on their necks.Published 10 Apr 2018, 00:25 IST