ASIA CUP: In-form India eyes another Pakistan scalp

Going by its recent form and domination, India, the top-ranked side in the tournament, will start as overwhelming favourite against the world ranked 13 Pakistan, a nation with a glorious hockey history but currently struggling to get itself back on the world map.

In the recent past, India has completely dominated over Pakistan, and the Manpreet Singh-led side would look to continue its stranglehold over the neighbouring country.

High on confidence following its impressive string of performances, an in-form India would look to maintain its unbeaten run when it takes on arch-rival Pakistan in its third and final Super 4 match of the 10th men's Asia Cup, here on Saturday.

Going by its recent form and domination, India, the top-ranked side in the tournament, will start as overwhelming favourite against the world ranked 13 Pakistan, a nation with a glorious hockey history but currently struggling to get itself back on the world map.

In the recent past, India has completely dominated over Pakistan, and the Manpreet Singh-led side would look to continue its stranglehold over the neighbouring country.

Barring the 1-1 draw against Korea in its first Super 4 match, India has been in red hot form in the tournament, having scored some beautiful field goals and displaying what 
it is best known for, one-touch attacking hockey.

READ: Gurjant's last-minute goal helps India hold Korea

The match against Korea seemed to have come as a wake-up call for the Indians, who are playing their maiden tournament under the new chief coach Sjoerd Marijne.

The draw against Korea acted as the right catalyst for India as it came out all guns blazing against the ever-impressive Malaysia and routed it 6-2 in its second Super 4 match on Thursday.

READ: Clinical India mauls Malaysia 6-2

India is atop the table in Super 4 stage with four points from a win and a draw, followed by Malaysia (3 points), Korea (2 points) and Pakistan (1) from two games each.

And come Saturday, a draw would be enough for India to seal its place in the Sunday's summit clash as it enjoys a better goal difference than the other sides.

But it would be easier said than done as there is nothing to lose for the Pakistanis, who would be keen to prove a point to the world that they should not be considered pushovers.

ALSO READ: Marijne's men eager to clinch Asia Cup

However, the situation is far from rosy for Pakistan as it not only has to beat India by a big margin to stand in with a chance to qualify for the final but its fate will also depend on the result of the other Super 4 match between South Korea and Malaysia.

With one foot in the final, the Indians though cannot afford to take Pakistan lightly as they very well know that irrespective of current form, the result of any India-Pakistan hockey encounter depends on how well the teams handle pressure  and emotions on the turf.

What has been the hallmark and most eye-catching for India in the tournament is the performance of its forwardline. The Indian strikers comprising Akashdeep Singh, Ramandeep Singh, SV Sunil, Lalit Upadhyay and young Gujrant Singh have been terrific upfront scoring fantastic field goals.

ALSO READ: Rani Rampal to lead India in women’s Asia Cup

The Indian midfield have been held well by skipper Manpreet Singh and Chinglensana Singh, while veteran Sardar Singh has done exceedingly well as the central defender and  the linkman between the midfield and the forwards.

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