India enters final of Women’s Hockey World League Round 2

India will play Chile in the summit clash. Chile had beaten Uruguay 2-1 in the second semifinal.

File photo of Indian hockey team from 2015.   -  Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

India stormed into the final of Hockey World League Round 2 after a 4-0 thrashing of Belarus in the semifinals here.

India will play Chile in the summit clash. Chile had beaten Uruguay 2-1 in the second semifinal.

With this semifinal victory, India booked its berth in the Women’s Hockey World League semifinal to be held in June/July, which is a qualifier for the FIH Women’s World Cup 2018.

India was dominant the side right from the start. Even though Belarus won two early penalty corners in the fourth and the ninth minute, the Indian team’s defence was impressive as it denied an early lead to its opponent.

India was quick to earn its first penalty corner in the 13th minute and it was Gurjit Kaur whose stunning goal gave India a 1-0 lead in the first quarter.

India took 2-0 lead in the 20th minute through skipper Rani when she successfully converted a penalty stroke.

Both teams traded penalty corners in the third quarter with India winning one in the 33rd minute but the strike was wide. Belarus, on the other hand, won a penalty corner in the 40th minute but Yuliya Mikheichyk’s hard-struck drag flick was saved by India’s goalkeeper Savita.

The Indian women played fast-paced hockey, breaching into the opposition striking circle quite often. Rani made a solo attempt and scored a brilliant field goal that took India’s lead to 3-0 in the 40th minute.

Though Belarus was awarded a penalty corner in the 42nd minute, its attempt to score was denied yet again by Savita, who continued to be impressive at the Indian goal to ensure her side stayed on course to victory.

The final quarter saw Belarus making desperate attempts to come back into the game. It began with a penalty corner in the 49th minute but was promptly denied by Savita. It was Gurjit Kaur’s splendid penalty stroke goal in the 58th minute that took India’s score to 4-0 and sealed the match.

“We are very excited and happy about the win. We played as a strong unit with better defence and I am happy we did not miss penalty corner chances. Our aim was to enter the Final and we look forward to a good game against Chile,” stated skipper Rani.