Indian women’s hockey team suffered an 8-2 defeat against host New Zealand in the second of the five-match series here on Tuesday.
Experienced striker Stacey Michelsen (21st, 30th, 42nd) struck thrice, while Samantha Harrison (3rd), Kirsten Pearce (52nd), Madison Doar (56th), Samantha Harrison (56th) and Stephanie Dickins (60th) also sounded the board. For India, Lilima Minz (40th minute) and Anupa Barla (49th) were the goal-scorers.
India began the game with a positive intent but New Zealand put India on the back foot early when it took a 1-0 lead through Samantha Harrison’s field goal in the third minute. India couldn’t clear the ball through the right wing and Samantha beautifully converted the pass into a goal from close range. A chance to equalise went begging in the sixth minute when striker Rani could not get a touch on the ball to deflect it into the post from a long-range assist.
In-form keeper Savita made a couple of saves to prevent New Zealand from increasing the lead while Anupa Barla’s shot was saved by the Kiwi keeper Grace O’Hanlon in the 12th minute. While the Black Sticks women dominated, holding their structure and looking like scoring more while keeping the Indians at bay. Though India played with high intensity, it was not enough to match New Zealand’s accuracy.
After entering the second quarter with a 1-0 lead, the host held most of the possession and ended up scoring a brilliant field goal in the 21st minute on the counter through Stacey Michelsen. India earned a penalty corner in the 24th minute but it was promptly denied by keeper Sally Rutherford. New Zealand kept the pressure on India and created more chances but Savita made several saves to keep India in the game.
However, good pressing from the host along with its ability to be patient and move the ball to drag the defenders out meant that New Zealand scored its third goal through Stacey in the 30th minute to take a comfortable 3-0 lead. India made amends in the third quarter when it earned two penalty corners. Though the first went amiss, Lilima Minz managed to get a deflection to finally win India a goal in the 40th minute.
Though Stacey scored her third goal of the match in the 42nd minute, India showed grit to score its second goal in the 49th minute through Anupa Barla. This helped India narrow the gap to 4-2. But just when India looked like it could bounce back into the game, its defence collapsed in the final quarter; New Zealand scored as many as four goals in the last eight minutes of the match.
New Zealand increased its pace and attack to convert goals through Kirsten Pearce (52nd), Madison Doar (56th), Samantha Harrison (56th) and Stephanie Dickins (60th) to end the match on a high note. The two teams will play the third match on May 17.
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