The India Men Hockey Team arrived with a boosted confidence after a successful campaign in New Zealand. The team reached the Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi last night. India scored a resounding 2-0 win in first two games against New Zealand A and secured a series win against the New Zealand national team 2-1 in a four-match series.
The team returned with many positives that give them a boost of confidence for the upcoming Hero Hockey World League Final, to be held in India later this year. The team enjoyed an impressive winning campaign as they stepped up defensively on the field and took good control of the game in every match that they played against both the teams.
In the last match of the series, after a scoreless first half, the action was in the third quarter when Nick Ross scored for New Zealand with SV Sunil finding the equalizer moments later.
In the first half, both teams played clinical hockey with local Black Stick Brad Shaw playing a blinder in defence and making it difficult for the skilful Indian side to enter the circle. A dangerous tackle in the 22nd minute meant Shaw was yellow-carded, but it didn’t appear to affect the Black Sticks as they rallied together for the remainder of the half.
Despite a nil-all score line at half time, it was an exciting 30 minutes of hockey with both sides creating opportunities and playing at high intensity throughout. The Kiwis finally made it count in the 41st minute when Nick Ross intercepted a ball in their attacking third, passed to Nick Wilson who dribbled it into the circle, passing back to Ross who tapped it in. It was only two minutes later that India found the equalizer through SV Sunil, the Black Sticks defenders caught unaware in a goalmouth scramble as the ball rolled over the line. The Black Sticks were awarded a penalty corner with just a couple of minutes on the clock but luck didn’t go the Kiwis way and Ryan Archibald’s deflection went just wide of the post.
Speaking from the Indira Gandhi International Airport, Roelant Oltmans, Director High Performance and Chief Coach Men, Hockey India said, “The team performed exceptionally well in the New Zealand Tour which proves that our players are ready to take on greater challenges. The highlight was that we played an attacking game throughout the tour and did not lose our possession easily which will definitely boost our preparations for the Hero Hockey World League Final scheduled to take place towards the end of this year, I hope the team do its best and display high-level performances.”
Speaking post landing, Captain Sardar Singh said, “We are in high spirits after the historic series win against a team which is ranked higher to us and the team has shown that they are ready to take on tougher opponents. After losing the first game against New Zealand, our team did not lose its focus and managed to win the series which proves that the team has the nerves of steel. We look forward to the upcoming Hero Hockey World League Final to be held later in the year. ’’
|Date||Local Time||Indian Team||Team||vs||Team||City|
|2 Oct.||13:00||05:30||IND||3-1||NZL- A||Auckland|
|3 Oct.||13:00||05:30||IND||2-1||NZL- A||Auckland|