Women’s Hockey World Cup: India will back down from China’s challenge
Her defensive prowess on display in a 1-1 draw against Olympic bronze medalist England, India will look to pierce a hole in the attack department and register their first win of the Women’s Hockey World Cup in their second game against China on Tuesday. The Indians put on a stellar defensive display, led by captain and goalkeeper Savita Punia, in their first Pool B match on Sunday in a drawn game against England.
Vice-captain Deep Grace Ekka, Nikki Pradhan, Gurjit Kaur and Udita put on stellar performances to deny England a single penalty corner in the entire 60 minutes.
His only fault was a ninth-minute goal which he admitted when Isabella Petter deflected neatly in a pass from outside ‘D’.
Barring that, it was a perfect effort from the Indian backline against England, which fielded almost the same number of players from the Great Britain side that were involved in the Tokyo Olympics.
Savita, as always, was brilliant in goal, saving a couple of fines with her quick reflexes.
However, India looked desired in the penalty corner conversion as they could only score once from their seven PCs, with Vandana Katariya equalizing with a rebound in the 28th minute.
India created plenty of chances against England as well but the forwardline failed to utilize most of them except in the draw.
Sharmila Devi missed a golden opportunity in the 56th minute as she could not get her stick to the fine pass from her teammate.
The Indian team will look to overcome their offensive woes and beat world number 13 China, who held New Zealand to a 2-2 draw in the second Pool B match on Sunday. Head coach Janneke Schopman will be eyeing more clinical performances from the forwardline, which includes Vandana, Lalremsiami and Shaila.
In terms of form and rankings, world number eight India will certainly start off as strong contenders against China but the Savita-led side will want to avoid complacency.
It was India that came out on top in the last two meetings between the two sides.
India beat China 7-1 in their first outing in a FIH Pro League tie before winning the second match of the double-header 2-1 in Muscat, Oman.
England will face New Zealand in the second match of Pool B on Tuesday.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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