Sultan Azlan Shah Cup: Rupinder Pal Jubilant After Hat-rick Against Great Britain
Rupinder Singh made India proud after the rookie drag-flicker smashed in a hat-rick in their Sultan Azlan Shah Cup match against Great Britain earlier today. It was a rather grandiose showing from India, who bounced back from their painful defeat to Korea yesterday in great style by trashing the British 3-1.
Rupinder, who was only included in the side due to the absence of Sandeep Singh was equally delighted with his performance today and thanked his teammates and coaches for giving him the chance and support.
“I feel very happy and proud for my achievement today. A huge credit and thanks go to my teammates, who all helped me and the team to score three goals and win the game. It was a beautiful moment for me and my thoughts are definitely with my family at the moment.”
Collectively, it was a far more convincing showing compared to yesterday’s opening match against South Korea. India were ruthless from the start and took control of the proceedings fast. They ultimately took the lead in the 10th minute after Rupinder smashed in a grounder resulting from a penalty corner, which left the Great Britain’s goalkeeper James Fair flat-footed. At the opposite end of the turf, Great Britain also had themselves to blame after failing to convert any of their three penalty corner before the break.
In the second half, India displayed much more hunger and intensity and were duly rewarded for their efforts when Rupinder Pal snatched his second and third goal within the space of two minutes to complete his first ever international hat-rick for the Indian Senior Team. Despite Britain netting a goal in the 62nd minute through James Tindall, India virtually hung on to claim the first victory of their campaign. And Rupinder admitted that there was a massive difference in their performance today as compared to yesterday’s one against Korea.
“We were definitely better today. Yesterday was a very bad day indeed for us. We lacked penetration upfront and had problem with injuries and stuff. However, today we played very well in all departments of the team. The lads were determined to not concede a goal from the beginning and even our coach stressed about it to us. And even if we did concede at the end, our job was basically done after a very efficient game.”
Today’s victory has literally kicked start their campaign and with important games against Australia and Malaysia coming up on Sunday and Monday respectively, Rupinder was aware on the importance of tomorrow’s rest day for them to relax and recuperate.
“We are certainly exhausted but tomorrow is a rest day and we hope to really be able to relax our body and mind. There are two big games coming up on Sunday and Monday so we will have to be ready for it and try to win those games as well.”
Anyhow, Rupinder Pal Singh‘s performance combined with the effectiveness within the Indian team tonight should raise high hopes of another triumph in Ipoh this year. The next match against favourites Australia should be a key one and it remains to be seen whether Harenda Singh’s young men can earn another victory.