In one of the most crucial games of Pool D, Pakistan and Malaysia played out a riveting 1-1 draw at the Kalinga Stadium on Wednesday. The shared spoils mean that the Green Shirts are now better placed at entering the Crossovers of the 2018 Hockey World Cup by virtue of their currently superior goal-difference.
Following three quarters of goalless yet absorbing hockey, Pakistan pulled ahead through a 51st minute strike from Muhammad Atiq Arshad. Four minutes later, Malaysia drew level when Faizal Saari scored from a penalty corner.
Here are three standout players from the thrilling draw between Malaysia and Pakistan.
#3 Imran Butt (Pakistan)
After conceding just a solitary goal against the strong German team in their opening encounter, Imran Butt chipped in with another solid effort under the bar. The veteran goalkeeper was called into action as early as the third minute itself. However, his swift reflexes denied Razie Rahim.
Imran continued to block Razie's shots in the first quarter. Aside from thwarting the Malaysian advances, he rallied the Pakistani defenders by providing instructions on a regular basis. His agility, coupled with the team's improved back-line, ensured that the Green Shirts were able to prevent potentially dangerous moments.
The Pakistan goalkeeper's only dent was the penalty corner through which Malaysia equalised. However, truth be told, Imran had no chance against Faizal Saari's perfectly executed drag-flick.