New Delhi: The Indian Junior Women’s Hockey Team on Wednesday started their campaign at the 3-Nations Tournament in Australia with a well-deserved 2-0 win against New Zealand in their opening encounter. India’s young Forward Lalrindiki (15’) and Midfielder Prabhleen Kaur (60’) scored the goals which secured the win for their side.
A solid Indian team started the match with an aggressive brand of hockey, pinning down the New Zealand side, who had earlier defeated hosts Australia 3-1 in their first match on Tuesday.
India’s dominance in the opening quarter saw them win an early Penalty Corner in the 3rd minute, but the resulting execution was just whiskers wide of the post. Constant pressure on the New Zealand defence in the opening quarter led to a golden opportunity for the visiting Indian team, who utilised their chance at the stroke of the quarter break with Forward Lalrindiki finding herself with enough space in front of goal to get her shot away. The 18-year-old Indian struck with a calculated strike to give her side an important, well-deserved lead.
However, New Zealand had a chance to score the equalizer early in the second quarter as they won themselves their first Penalty Corner, but Indian Goalkeeper Bichu Devi Kharibam positioned herself perfectly in front of goal to deny the opposition from scoring. The two teams battled for possession in the middle of the park but neither could create any firm chances, meaning India retained their one-goal advantage at the half-time break.
The third quarter was filled with some exciting chances for both the sides. First, it was the Indian team who were awarded two Penalty Corners at the start of the period. However, a shot off target and a brilliant save by New Zealand’s Goalkeeper Kelly Carline meant that India could not extend their lead. Having defended patiently, New Zealand also won themselves a Penalty Corner as end of the third quarter approached, but India’s defensive line, led by Goalkeeper Kharibam made sure that they protected their one-goal lead.
The fourth quarter saw a similar story as New Zealand looked for the equalizer, while India were focused on extending their lead. Some close moments in the last 15 minutes saw India defend well against one more Penalty Corner in the 48th minute, and then win an opportunity to score from the execution in the 52nd minute. However, it was only in the last minute of the match, with 30 seconds remaining on the clock, that India were awarded yet another Penalty Corner. This time it was India’s Prabhleen Kaur who stepped up to take the drag-flick, and scored an exquisite goal to secure a 2-0 win for the Indian Junior Women’s Hockey Team.
The 3 Nations Tournament started on Tuesday with New Zealand defeating hosts Australia 3-1 as Olivia Shannon (3’) and Hope Ralph (47’, 52’) scored for the visitors, with Australia’s Aisling Utri (50’) scoring her team’s only goal.
The Indian Junior Women’s Hockey team will be in action yet again on Thursday, 5th December 2019 as they face hosts Australia in their second match of the 3-Nations Tournament at 1230hrs IST.