Azlan Shah Cup: Relentless India hammer hosts Malaysia 5-1
It all clicked well as the insistence of playing without errors paid dividends as India took hold of the opportunities, turned it into goals and a match that stood at one-all at one point of time, became a rampaging 5-1 win for India.
Indian players celebrate a goal against Malaysia yesterday
It all clicked well as the insistence of playing without errors paid dividends as India took hold of the opportunities, turned it into goals and a match that stood at one point of time at one-all became a rampaging 5-1 for India. Malaysia would rue the rash of missed chances they had at the end of the 2nd quarter. But that's how modern hockey has evolved – avail your chances, shoot in the goals and clinch the match. For India, the scorers were Shilanand Lakra (10th), Gurjant Singh (42nd, 57th), Sumit Kumar (28th) and Ramandeep Singh (51st). The only Malaysian goal came off a penalty corner in the 33rd minute when Faizal Saari fired in a high flick.
After three matches, with just a draw and two losses, India needed some points in the kitty to stand a chance of at least playing for a bronze or remaining in contention. Till now, the three matches had been a mixed bag of missed chances, quarter after quarter of errors and those cards that constantly pegged back the Indian side. Today, there was a card but only one. And whenever India had the chance, they punished Malaysia.
The three goals in the 4th quarter destroyed Malaysia as they didn't have the time to come back into the game. Indian captain Sardar Singh had a good match and in the 3rd and 4th quarter, had the space and freedom to showcase those skills and create moves that made the Indian forwards move with fluency. Gurjant Singh got two goals but it was Ramandeep who played excellent hockey. Constantly troubling the Malaysian defence, he gave some lovely weighted through balls for Shilanand Lakra, Sumit Kumar, Gurjant and Talwinder.
A stand out point for India was that they played Suraj Karkera through the four quarters and he saved quite a few situations. Indian coach Sjoerd Marijne said he didn't replace Karkera in the 2nd half simply because he was 'brilliant and had a lot of confidence today.' Marijne spoke about progress but also said that "a win was necessary as you can keep playing good hockey and showing progress but the boys always feel good with a win. And I am happy that it happened." India now plays Ireland in their last round robin match with a win giving them seven points. But their fate for a 3rd/4th play-off will also depend on the Malaysia Vs England encounter.
DISCLAIMER: mid-day and its affiliates shall have no liability for any views, thoughts and comments expressed on this article.
How Mithali Raj changed the face of women's cricket in India