India outclass Pakistan 4-1

India outclass Pakistan 4-1

Sandeep scores twice to thrash arch-rivals in World Cup opener

India outclass Pakistan 4-1

 India’s hockey players displayed on-field wizardry, the kind which generations of Indians have been witness to in the past, when they handed out arch-rivals Pakistan a drubbing during the World Cup championships at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium in New Delhi on Sunday. AFP  On a cracking night of hockey, India outplayed their arch-rivals Pakistan 4-1 to trigger the celebrations, getting the championship off to a great start here on Sunday after weeks of negative publicity on the event’s organisation.

 Helicopters roaming overhead, hundreds of security personnel in and around the venue, severe restrictions in moving around—watching sport never seemed more difficult than this. But hours later, the hardships of the evening hardly remained in the mind as Rajpal Singh’s men turned on the style at the Major Dhyanchand National Stadium.

 With 16,000 loyal fans right behind them, India had plenty to deliver at a venue that has often presented them with bitter memories, none more painful than the 1-7 defeat in the 1982 Asian Games final against the same opposition.

 This was no final, but it very much looked one as India attacked and Pakistan defended. In the end of a blazing 70 minutes, it was the Indian tactics that prevailed, with drag-flicker Sandeep Singh firing in two goals to lead the charge. One strike apiece from Shivender Singh and Prabhjot Singh added to the tally as Pakistan lost for the third time in five World Cup matches against India.

 Solid in defence, India, led by Dhananjay Mahadik and Bharath Chikkara, bottled up Pakistan’s forwards well, leaving the visitors to look up to Sohail Abbas. But the world’s best drag-flicker was off-target on the day, forcing the four-time champions to eat humble pie.

 Start has been a problem area for India many a time in the past but the momentum is certainly with them now as they prepare for far stiffer tests.

Favourites Australia, who lost to England earlier in the day, will be their next opponents on Tuesday but for now, it is time for a small celebration on Holi day for Rajpal’s men.

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