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Posted on Feb 18, 10:46PM | IANS
New Delhi, Feb 18 : It didn't take long for the war cries to turn into a whimper as India hammered Fiji 16-0 in their opening match of the men's Hockey World League Round 2 at the Major Dhyan Chand National stadium here on a chilly Monday night.
Fiji, the lowest ranked team in the tournament at World No.70, threatened the Indians with their familiar war cry Cibi, which is generally associated with their famous rugby team.
But soon the war cry turned into a whimper, as India crushed Fiji with their speed, power and accuracy.
The floodgates opened as early as in the third minute with ace drag-flicker V.K. Raghunath striking from a penalty corner to give India a 1-0 lead. From there, it was no looking back for India, who slammed in seven goals in the first half.
As many as 10 Indians sounded the board with Raghunath and Danish Mujtaba scoring a hat-trick each.
Drag-flicker Rupinder Pal Singh and debutant Malak Singh struck a brace while Kothajit Singh, Manpreet Singh, Dharamvir Singh, Nitin Thimmaiah, Chingelensana Singh and another rookie Gurjinder Singh scored goals apiece.
For Malak and Gurjinder, who has played in the rebel World Series Hockey (WSH), it was double delight as they were awarded Rs.1 lakh each by Hockey India (HI) for scoring goals on debut.
The Fijians were no match for the Indians, who were clinical in their approach. The Indian defence was hardly tested and the only action goalkeeper P.R.Sreejesh faced was when Fiji were awarded their only penalty corner in the dying minutes of the game.
Rupinder, who was adjudged Man of the Match, said it was great to start the tournament, which is a qualifier for the 2014 World Cup in Hague.
"It was a good outing, especially when you win by a big margin. But we have tough competition ahead when we face Ireland and China," said Rupinder.
India have a rest day Tuesday and will resume their campaign Wednesday, when they take on Oman.