Amstelveen (Netherlands): Their defensive prowess is showcased in the 1-1 draw against Olympic bronze medalist England, India would try to close gaps in the offensive division and register their first women’s hockey world championship win in their second game against China here on Tuesday.
The Indians delivered a superb defensive performance led by skipper and goalkeeper Savita Punicin the draw against England in their opening game in Pool B on Sunday.
Entrepreneurs like vice-captain Deep Grace Ekka, Nikki Pradhan, Gurjit Kaur and Udita put in a stellar performance denying England a single penalty corner in the full 60 minutes.
Their only blemish was the goal they conceded in the ninth minute when Isabella Petter was neatly disposed of in a pass from outside the ‘D’.
Other than that, it was a near-perfect effort by the Indian backline against England, who fielded nearly the same set of players from the Great Britain side seen in the Tokyo Olympics.
Savita, as usual, was brilliant in goal and made some fine saves with her quick reflexes.
However, India proved to fall short in the penalty corner conversion as they could only score once out of the seven PCs they were given, with Vandana Katariya equalizing from a rebound in the 28th minute.
India also created many opportunities against England, but the vanguard was unable to capitalize on most of them, except for the equaliser.
In the 56th minute, Sharmila Devi lost a golden opportunity when he failed to hold on to a fine pass from a teammate.
The Indians would try to address their offensive problems and beat the world’s number 13, China, who held New Zealand to a 2-2 draw in Sunday’s other Pool B game.
Chief coach Janneke Schopman would see a more clinical performance from the vanguard, consisting of the likes of Vandana, Lalremsiami and Shamila.
Judging by form and ranking, the world’s number eight India will certainly start as a favorite against China, but complacency is something the Savita-led side would like to avoid.
It was India that came out on top in the last two meetings between the two sides.
India had beaten China 7-1 in their first appearance in the FIH Pro League tie before winning the second game of the double-header 2-1 in Muscat, Oman.
In Tuesday’s other Pool B game, England will meet New Zealand.
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