Rani Rampal scores on comeback as India thrashes South Africa 5-1 to lead 1-0 in four-match series

Returning to the side for the first time since playing against Belgium in the FIH Women’s Hockey Pro League 2021-22 last June, former captain Rani opened India’s scoring in the 12th minute on Monday night.

FILE PHOTO: Rani Rampal in action.

FILE PHOTO: Rani Rampal in action. | Photo Credit: RITU RAJ KONWAR

Returning to the side for the first time since playing against Belgium in the FIH Women’s Hockey Pro League 2021-22 last June, former captain Rani opened India’s scoring in the 12th minute on Monday night.

Rani Rampal made an impressive comeback to the national side with a goal to her name as India women crushed South Africa 5-1 in the first hockey Test of the four-match series.

Returning to the side for the first time since playing against Belgium in the FIH Women’s Pro League 2021-22 last June, former captain Rani opened India’s scoring in the 12th minute on Monday night. Monika (20th), Navneet Kaur (24th), Gurjit Kaur (25th) and Sangita Kumari (30th) found the back of the net in the second quarter to hand India a commanding 5-0 lead at half-time.

South Africa’s only goal came in the 44th minute, scored by captain Quanita Bobbs.

Midfielder Vaishnavi Phalke, who led the Indian junior team at the Uniphar U-23 five-nations tournament last year, made her senior debut in this game.f the four-match series.

India started aggressively and pushed South Africa back into its half early in the opening quarter. It took the lead through Rani, who converted a penalty corner.

The second quarter started at a high tempo, with the Indians looking even more relentless and dangerous.

The visitor dominated possession and scored four more goals in rapid succession, with Monika scoring in the 20th minute and Navneet making it 3-0 in favour of India four minutes later, gently placing the ball into the net following a superb team play.

A minute later, drag-flicker Gurjit converted a penalty stroke as the South Africans struggled to find footing in the match.

Just at the stroke of half-time, Sangita neatly deflected the ball into the net from a penalty corner.

After the change of ends, India continued to look for more goals, but despite constant pressure on the South African defence, the visitor failed to be on target.

South Africa managed to pull a goal back through Bobbs from a penalty corner.

The host looked confident and dangerous in the fourth and final quarter, but the lead was big enough for India to ensure a comfortable win.

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