Vandana's hat-trick powers India home

Vandana's hat-trick powers India home

Vandana Kataria slammed a hat-trick as Indian eves thrashed minnows Russia 10-1 to enter the quarterfinals of the Women’s Junior Hockey World Cup on Tuesday.

After the 1-6 drubbing at the hands of Australia and 2-0 victory over New Zealand, the Indian girls needed to win by a bigger margin against Russia and hope for either an Australian victory over New Zealand or a draw in the final Pool C match to reach knock-out stage.

India’s prayers did not go unheard as Australia managed to hold New Zealand to a 3-3 draw. Australia topped Pool C with seven points from three games, while India finished second with six points.

India will now face Pool D champions in the quarterfinals on Thursday, while Australia will be up against the second-placed team from Pool D.

India scored five goals in each half through Vandana (7th minute, 15th, 31st), Poonam Rani (22nd, 27th), Rani (39th, 49th), Ritusha Kumani Arya (44th), Manjit Kaur (69th) and an own goal in the 66th minute.

Anastasia Miroshikova scored the lone goal for Russia in the 36th minute.

Aware that only a win would keep them in quarterfinals hunt, the Indians went for the offensive and opened the scoring in the seventh minute through Vandana, who converted the third penalty corner. Vandana, eight minutes later, doubled India’s lead through a field effort. Poonam then joined the party and scored two goals in a span of six minutes to extend India’s lead. Though Anastasia pulled one back for Russia early in the second half, India maintained their firm grip to come out big winners.