The shock delivered by Wales had its effect in good measure on Friday as India recoiled well to get the better of Malaysia 4-1 in Group A of women’s hockey in the XXI Commonwealth Games at the GC Hockey Centre here.
Yet, the need for further improvement was there for all to see as, like on the opening day, the Indian midfield failed to measure up, being slow off their feet and indulging in self-play rather than orchestrating moves which would have kept their team-mates upfront busy. This was evident right through the first two quarters and that leading to the half-time did see India up only by a solitary goal should be a good illustration for the need of some urgent and effective action from the team management, as England and South Africa needs to conquered for a passage into the knockouts.
If at all, the Indian presence was felt at this stage, it was all due to the hard work turned in by its frontline led by skipper Rani Rampal and help the country to be rewarded with at least eight penalty corners in the first period. The poor rate of conversion continued, but on the fifth, Gurjit Kaur was able to break the deadlock and help India to the lead.
This happened in the sixth minute and thereafter the Indians, one sincerely thought, was happy with this cushion as they found themselves marching to the tunes of the young Malaysian side. The second quarter was fully barren before India once tried to pushed the pedestal to gain some momentum in the third after Malaysia came up with a warning equaliser through Nuraini Rashid off a penalty corner.
This led to some panic but it was a blessing in disguise as the stunning equaliser shook the Indian players off their reverie and some forward action. Gurjit Kaur, it was, who came to the rescue of her side, converting a penalty corner and helping India back into the lead. The best part of the Indian display came in the final quarter and here there was better coordination between the defence, midfield and the forwards as Neha Goyal got one through to Rani Rampal for finding the target with a good interception shot. Lal Remsiami completed the formality with a fourth goal, with just a minute remaining.