Indian women's hockey team ready for New Zealand test
After a comfortable 4-2 win over Canada in their opener, the Indian women's hockey team will take on a higher ranked New Zealand in Pool A of the Commonwealth Games here Sunday.
Star of the last match with two goals, Jaspreet Kaur and the midfield duo of captain Ritu Rani and Poonam Rani will lead the Indian charge and will try to turn the tables on World No.4 New Zealand. India will look to continue the goal scoring momentum through forward Ritusha Arya.
While New Zealand's Anita Punt will be the player that India will have to watch out for, the India captain is confident that her girls will keep things under control.
"I am extremely elated at the manner the team started the tournament. Victory in the first match has given a new dimension to our hopes and aspirations. The team is in good shape and will perform our best in all aspects," said Ritu.
"The vigorous training we went through will help us to carry out well in the game and we will try not to concede goals and win by a better margin. While we are high on confidence, we cannot take the opponents lightly hence are focused and aim to add to the winning tally."
India chief coach Neil Hawgood is also confident, saying that his team will give a hard time to the opponents.
"The team is in good form and their efforts are visible on the field. The girls are excited and will try to maintain the winning momentum. We have worked on our penalty corner conversions during our practice sessions. The match against New Zealand will be a battle of wits and our team will be raring to prove their point yet again," said Hawgood.
India had previously met New Zealand at the 2006 edition where they won 1-0 while in 2002 India lost 1-3 in the preliminary round. In the semi-final a few days later, India defeated New Zealand 2-1 before returning home with a gold.
(Posted on 26-07-2014)