India’s women’s hockey team suffered third consecutive loss in the eight-nation Hawke’s Bay Cup, losing to China 1-2 in the last pool game in Hastings, New Zealand on Tuesday.

Rani Rampal’s field goal put India ahead in the 19th minute but the Chinese equalised through Yu Qian in the 45th minute before Wang Mengyu scored the winner from a penalty corner with five minutes left on the clock.

World No.13 India , coming into the match with two successive defeats — against New Zealand (0-1) and Ireland (0-4), came to life in the second quarter early against the fifth ranked Chinese.

Rani scored off a swiftly worked counter from the right, giving India the lead in the 19th minute. China immediately hit back, and won a penalty corner of its own, but another save from Savita ensured India went into the break with its lead intact.

The third quarter saw resolute defending from India , as China controlled most of the possession. Monika in particular was very good at marshalling the defence and dropping deep to ensure China was denied openings for goal.China however managed to break the defence in the last play of the quarter with Yu Qian netting the equaliser.

The final quarter saw several chances fall for both teams as they tried to take full points. Deepika, took charge and had a couple of half chances that went wide off the post. Wang Mengyu scored the winner for China through a penaly corner with five minutes left on the clock.

Speaking after the game, coach C.R. Kumar said: “We gave a tough game today to a team that are higher ranked than us. Crucial mistakes at the end of the final quarters denied us the points. Our defence was secure, but we now need to focus on getting the ball upfield quicker to score goals.”

India will play Japan in its quarterfinal game on Thursday.