Vying direct qualification for World Cup 2018, Indian women’s hockey team suffered a 2-8 defeat against hosts New Zealand on Tuesday. Samantha Harrison opened for the hosts while Striker Stacey Michelsen struck thrice (21st, 30th, 42nd). Madison Doar (56th), Samantha Harrison (56th) and Stephanie Dickins (60th) also managed to breakthrough India’s defence and sounded the board. Lilima Minz and Anupa Barla scored for the visitors. Ritu Rani-led side began with positive intent but the hosts took an early 1-0 lead when Samantha Harrison scored a 3rd minute field goal.
India had a chance to score the equaliser, however, striker Rani could not get a touch on the ball to deflect it into the post from a long-range assist.
Savita was brilliant at the post as made a couple of saves to deny New Zealand from increasing the lead. Indian eves showed fight with Anupa Barla attempting to score in the 12th minute but Kiwi goalkeeper Grace O’Hanlon did well to deny Indians of making a comeback. India played with high intensity, it was not enough to match New Zealand’s accuracy.
Team India was awarded with a Penalty Corner in the 24th minute but it was denied by the Kiwi keeper. New Zealand kept the pressure on India and created more chances but Savita made several saves to keep India in the game.
After missing in her previous attempt, Lilima Minz managed to get a deflection to finally win India a goal in the 40th minute. The visitors showed grit against the aggressive Kiwis as they scored their second goal in the 49th minute through Anupa Barla.
India lost the previous encounter 4-1 and will next play the third match on May 17. India needs to win the five-match series to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
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