Upbeat India look to post win against New Zealand
Hastings (New Zealand): Having held World No. 2 Australia to a goal-less draw in their last match, the Indian women’s hockey team will be looking to do better when and clinch a win when they take on hosts New Zealand in the quarter-finals of the Hawke’s Bay Cup here tomorrow.
The Indian eves started on a poor note, losing to China and the USA, but came back strongly to give Australia a tough fight yesterday.
They showcased their strong defence, not allowing the mighty Aussies to score against them, while the forwards created opportunities for themselves, giving the opponents moments of panic.
However, they failed to convert the opportunities, which resulted in a draw.
Come tomorrow, India would be determined to post their first win of the tournament and avenge their 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games defeat against New Zealand.
“Our clash against Australia was tough as they are a strong team but the positives that came out was the manner in which we held them at bay. Goalkeeping was at its best yesterday and we will be looking at showcasing the same play tomorrow,” said captain Ritu Rani ahead of tomorrow’s clash.
“What needs to click is converting the opportunities. Had we capitalised on the penalty stroke against Australia then the story would have been different. Yesterday’s performance has boosted the girls and we are looking forward to tomorrow’s clash. They (New Zealand) are again a strong team but we are confident of a better result,” she added.
Director High Performance, Hockey India, Roelant Oltmans, said the current bunch of players have the hunger to learn and grow.
“This is a bunch of skillful players who have the hunger to learn and grow. This, they have proved in the last six months. Tomorrow’s aim will be to first break the defence chain, maintain the ball possession and pounce on the opportunities. The idea is to keep it simple and not allow pressure to take the better of them,” said Oltmans.