Erratic Indians settle for draw

New Zealand restore parity twice

India went into the breather with a 1-0 cushion after Tushar Khandker had earned them the lead in the 30th minute.

When play resumed, Dean Couzins equalised for the Kiwis in the 47th minute. Shivendra Singh then put India ahead in the 51st minute but New Zealand equalised within seven minutes, this time through Andrew Hayward, to split points.

India play China in their next Group A tie on Tuesday and lock horns with Belgium on Thursday. The Kiwis were on the offensive early in the match with Ryan Archibald looking in ominous form. The Indians defence, however, did a neat job, ensuring that Adrian D’Souza was not really troubled under the bar.

Still, Phillip Burrows nearly scored on one occasion when his deflection from close range missed the mark by a whisker, much to the relief of the Indians. India relied more on counter-attacks at that stage and one such move culminated with Khandker sounding the board.

The Kiwis were unrelenting even after the break but the Indian defence looked impregnable till the 47th minute when Dean Couzins converted a penalty-stroke, completely wrong-footing goal-keeper D’Souza.

Shivendra Singh nearly scored from the next attack but his deflection from close range hit the post. Soon, he got a similar opportunity and this time the Indian made no mistake and beat Kyle Pontifex all ends up as India regained the lead.

New Zealand, however, refused to throw in the towel and were rewarded when Andrew Hayward scored from a penalty-corner. In other matches, Argentina spanked South Africa 6-2, Pakistan edged out Canada 2-1 and Belgium prevailed over China 4-3.

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