Indian women whitewashed by NZ in hockey series

Go down 6-2 in the final match of the series.

New Zealand put up another authoritative performance on Saturday.   -  Getty Images

India’s women’s team was whitewashed 5-0 by New Zealand in the hockey series with a 6-2 defeat on Saturday.

The Black Sticks was untroubled from the start with Olivia Merry converting a splendid field goal in the fourth minute of the first quarter. She starred in the first 15 minutes; she came up with another field goal in the 15th minute to give her team a strong start - a 2-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.

In the second quarter, India made strong amends, earning a penalty corner in the 22nd minute. Deep Grace Ekka was successful in converting the penalty corner with an improvised flick to earn India’s first goal of the match. This was Grace’s second successful penalty corner in the series. New Zealand fought back with Pippa Hayward earning the third goal for the host in the 27th minute to take its score to 3-1 at the end of the second quarter.

India began the third quarter with positive intent, and its determination paid off when it earned a penalty corner in the 33rd minute.

Captain Rani converted the penalty corner with an inch-perfect finish to make it 3-2. Soon after, India won two back-to-back penalty corners, creating a brilliant opportunity to tie the score with the host.

However, the chance went begging as Gurjit Kaur’s flick was deflected by the alert Kiwi goalkeeper Grace O’Hanlon. New Zealand overcame this scare to take a formidable 6-2 lead at the end of the third quarter with three goals scored in a span of four minutes. Natasha Fitzsimons (37’), Samantha Harrison (38’) and Kirsten Pearce (40’) ensured New Zealand put India under pressure going into the final quarter.

India showed resilience in the final 15 minutes, trying to find a gap in the striking circle. While India matched New Zealand’s challenge with pace, good skill work and improvised ball possession it could not quite make it count in the 25-yard mark.

India squandered a few opportunities to score. For instance, with eight minutes remaining, Udita’s pass was not controlled by Preeti Dubey who had positioned herself inside the circle, thus missing out on a chance.

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