Fourth defeat in row for Indian women hockey team
Hamilton, May 19 (PTI): Failing to arrest its slide yet again, the Indian women hockey team on Friday suffered its fourth straight defeat of the tour, losing 0-3 to hosts New Zealand in the penultimate contest of the five-match series, in Hamilton.
India made a strong start with an improvised attack, attempting shots on goal but the Black Sticks Women defence proved too strong to break for the visitors. The hosts found an opportunity in the 14th minute with a quick-thinking Rachael McCann who pumped the ball into the goal clinching an early 1-0 lead in the first quarter.
Following three successive 4-1, 8-2 and 3-2 wins in the first three matches, New Zealand dominated Friday’s game too. Tessa Jopp fetched the hosts their second goal in the 17th minute. New Zealand earned a penalty corner which was successfully converted by Jopp. Down by two goals, the Indian strikers made strong amends and tried different variations to find a goal but they failed to break the opposition defence.
In-form Rachael McCann struck her second goal of the match in the 26th minute to take New Zealand to a comfortable 3-0 lead at the end of half—time. The final two quarters saw Indian goalkeeper Rajani Etimarpu stay busy at the post, defending several attempts on goal by New Zealand. She made some impressive saves to keep the Black Sticks from taking further lead. The Indian defence too stitched together a well-structured strategy to ensure a goalless third and fourth quarters.
While India had dominated with the ball possession (57 per cent as opposed to New Zealand’s 43 per cent) in their previous game, New Zealand came up with new tactics to deny the visitors any such advantage today.
The final quarter too saw the Indians make strong attempts on goal in their bid to make a comeback into the game but New Zealand stayed in control to win the match.