India prevail over New Zealand 'A' 3-1 in hockey tour opener
- Continuing their recent resurgence, the Indian Men’s Hockey team defeated New Zealand A by a comprehensive margin of 3-1 in Auckland, today. Displaying intent and controlling the possession flawlessly, the “Blue Sticks” began the tour to New Zealand on a positive note.
Continuing their recent resurgence, the Indian Men’s Hockey team defeated New Zealand A by a comprehensive margin of 3-1 in Auckland, today. Displaying intent and controlling the possession flawlessly, the “Blue Sticks” began the tour to New Zealand on a positive note.
However, 8th ranked India started on a sluggish note with an apparent lack of cohesion in their passing. The New Zealand A side took advantage and drew 2 consecutive penalty corners within the first few minutes. But, Asian Games hero, custodian PR Sreejesh moved rapidly and blocked both the efforts. Immediately, Ramandeep Singh showed glimpses of the traditional Indian flair by confounding the defenders and feeding a crucial ball to Akashdeep Singh who scored the first goal of the match in the 3rd minute.
In a bid to equalize, the Kiwi players launched an ambitious attack which kept the Indian defenders on their toes. But, the Indians thwarted the opposition attempts to keep the score line 1-0 at the end of the first quarter.
The Indians sustained the momentum with Ramandeep continuing his merry ways and finishing with a field goal to double India’s lead in the 20th minute. Clearly looking to ram home the advantage, Gurjinder Singh deliverd a flawless pass to Nikkin Thimmaiah who dribbled elegantly and deposited the ball into the net in the 26th minute. At half-time, India were all over an inexperienced New Zealand A team and the score-line read 3-0.
Seeking to mount a comeback, the home team tried to penetrate an organized Indian defense. Their endeavors paid dividends in the 36th minute when they procured a penalty-corner. Finally, they converted an opportunity into a goal. Even though the visitors aimed to consolidate themselves, the home team prevented any more mishaps as the third quarter came to an end.
In the final quarter, the tired Indian players marched on gamely in an attempt to create new openings. But, the tourists could not capitalize as New Zealand A managed to protect their net. After a spate of unsuccessful shots at goal, the tourists emerged victorious by a score-line of 3-1.
India will continue their practice with another warm-up match against the same team on October 3 in Auckland. The 4-match test series against New Zealand will begin on the 6th of October with the first two games at Nelson, followed by the remaining two at Christchurch.