India too good for Kiwis

India too good for Kiwis

FINE EFFORT India's Manpreet Singh (second from right) attempts to score during the second 'Test' match against New Zealand on Saturday. DH PHOTO/ Srikanta Sharma R

The Indian men's hockey team registered their second successive victory against New Zealand, beating the visitors 3-1 to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match 'Test' series at the Sports Authority of India's campus here on Saturday.

India began the opening quarter with a structured attack. Striker SV Sunil took the team’s first potential shot on goal in the opening minute but it was well defended by New Zealand goalkeeper Richard Joyce.

India dominated the quarter, earning two penalty corners. They, however, could not convert and the two teams ended the first quarter in a stalemate.

India came charging off the blocks in the second quarter. They won three back-to-back PCs in the 18th minute and Rupinder Pal Singh scored off his third try to put India 1-0 ahead. Manpreet Singh made a perfect injection that was powerfully picked up by Rupinder to fire it past Joyce.

Almost a minute later, experienced forward Sunil fetched India another PC, however, this time the variation did not work.

In the 24th minute, Stephen Jenness caught the Indian defence off guard when he pierced through the striking circle, beating custodian PR Sreejesh, who had run up to block him, and found an open goal. Jenness made no mistake with the chance to put the Black Sticks on level terms.

India retorted back with a splendid field goal in the 27th minute through striker Sunil, who worked in tandem with Simranjeet Singh. The goal won back India their lead and they ended the second quarter 2-1 ahead.

New Zealand stitched together an improvised defence in the third quarter but their attack remained jaded.

India upped the ante in the final quarter as they made enthralling forays into the striking circle. Sunil made a brilliant pass from the right flank to Mandeep Singh, who swiftly deflected into the post, taking India's lead to 3-1 in the 56th minute. The defence held strong to keep up the lead till the end.

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