Pakistan’s men’s hockey team are a kind of a Jekyll and Hyde kind – one day they can look awesome and devastate any side, while on any other day they can cut a sorry figure and frustrate their fans to no end.
The Greenshirts showed that in ample measure when they walloped South Africa 6-2 to march into the quarterfinals of the 2nd men’s Hockey World League Round 3 with the right frame of mind.
The inconsistency of the Pakistanis comes to the fore when you take a look at their performance in the tournament – the Muhammed Imran-led side trailed Malaysia 1-3 at half-time before clawing back to play out a dramatic 4-4 draw.
Again in the next game against they trailed England 1-2 at the break before they churned out a second half equalizer to engage in a 2-2 draw.
Muhammad Zubair started proceedings on a rousing note with superb backhand shot that beat the South African goal-tender all ends up.
Shafqat Rasool extended the lead making the most of a penalty corner save to sound the board in the 17th minute.
South Africa hit back with a brilliant Wade Paton drag-flick goal off a short corner in the 25th minute, but their joy was short-lived as Pakistan maintained a two-goal cushion after Abdul Haseem Khan tapped home a low penalty corner flick from Muhammad Imran.
Abdul Haseem Khan, who scored in the earlier two matches including a second half equalizer against England, scored his fourth goal of the tournament, hammering home a feed from Muhammad Waqas in the 41st minute.
Abdul Haseem Khan completed a sizzling hat-trick in the 60th minute with a neat deflection before Muhammad Zubair scored another.
Craig Haley reduced the deficit for South Africa but it was the Greenshirts who were flashing a broad smile at the end of the 70 minutes.
In another match, England edged Malaysia 2-1. Richard Smith gave England the lead before Tengku Ahmad Tajudin Abdul Jalil evened things for Malaysia.
Vastly experienced Barry Middleton scored in the second half to pull off a win for his side.
In the quarterfinals, Argentina will play South Africa, while Pakistan meet Korea, England will face Japan, Germany take on hosts Malaysia.
All the matches are slated for Thursday after a rest day on Wednesday.Published 03 Jul 2013, 12:44 IST