Men's FIH Pro League 2020: India vs Australia, Match 1, Preview, prediction, telecast, date, start time and where to watch online

The Indians play the third of their four sets of home matches against Australia
The Indians play the third of their four sets of home matches against Australia

It was always going to be a trial by fire for debutants India who were slated to play the top three teams in the world first up in the second edition of the Hockey Pro League.

By virtue of four incredible performances, the hosts have proven to fans and detractors alike that not only do they mean business in the Pro League, but that the eight-time gold medalists may well be the team to watch out for at Tokyo 2020.

Two outright wins, one shootout win, and a narrow loss - this against teams of the calibre of Belgium and the Netherlands have underlined the fact that the Indians are more than capable of competing with the very best.

Graham Reid's team have now moved up the ranking ladder and are currently placed fourth as per the FIH as they take on defending champions, Australia who are just about getting into the groove after having lost their numero uno status to the Belgians earlier in the competition.

The Australians will be desperate for a win at the Kalinga Stadium
The Australians will be desperate for a win at the Kalinga Stadium

Colin Batch's team began their campaign by going down in a shootout against arch-rivals Belgium before losing the second match outright by a 2-4 margin.

The Aussies had better luck in the shootout against Great Britain and won a much-needed bonus point - but, finally came into their own in the second of the two matches to thrash their traditional foes by a scoreline which read 5-1.

The hosts will miss injured Mandeep Singh's opportunistic skills at the goalmouth but the Indian strikers have been outstanding, thus far, in the competition.

While tightening up at the back is what Graham Reid's boys have been working on, neither of the attacking sides have been known to hold back - especially while playing against each another.

The Aussies are behind India in the points table having amassed 6 points while the home side have 8 points from 4 matches - and, while Manpreet Singh and co. will no doubt be inspired by their gritty show against Belgium and Holland, the wounded kookaburras would like nothing better than to pick up full points against a side they have rarely lost to.

Over 120 matches have been played between the two great hockey nations with the Indians managing to win just over 20 - but, an enthralling show in the final of the 2018 Champions Trophy at Breda will give the home side hope that the once-indomitable kookaburras are not impregnable any longer.

Here is how you can catch all the action:

Event: Men's Hockey Pro League 2020

Venue: Bhubaneswar, India

Date: 21 February 2020

Time: 7:00 pm Indian Standard Time (IST)

Telecast: Star Sports

Live Streaming: Hotstar

Live Updates: Sportskeeda


Some fast end-to-end action is expected with the Australians desperate for a win while the Indians will look to catch their opponents on the counter in a high-scoring contest that is all set to go down to the wire.

Score Prediction: India 3-2 Australia

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Edited by Amar Anand
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