The Indian women’s hockey team kicked off the Olympic year and the New Zealand tour on a high as they registered a comprehensive victory over the New Zealand Development squad on Saturday. Lead by skipper Rani Rampal’s brace the Indian women’s team thumped the New Zealand Development squad 4-0. Beside Rani, Sharmila and Namita Toppo also registered their name on the score sheet.
The Indian team looked a little rusty in the first two quarters. However, after the first half, the Indian team that had arrived in New Zealand on Thursday shook off their jet lag through Rani who put the Indian eves in lead with her first goal of the evening in the third quarter. The women in blue continued to threaten the opposition as they won back-to-back penalty corners in the following minutes of taking the lead, but they failed to covert. However, the pressure of the Indian eves on the young New Zealand side earned them dividends in the closing minutes of the third quarter as youngster Sharmila scored to double India’s lead. The score remained 2-0 in favour of the Indian women’s team at the end of the third quarter.
The fourth quarter was no different as the Indian eves continued to dominate hapless New Zealand Development squad. Indian skipper Rani was once again up to the task as she scored her second goal of the evening to hand India a 3-0 lead. Namita Toppo then further extended India’s lead to 4-0 by scoring her first goal of the evening. The score remained unchanged after the final whistle and India were adjudged as the winner.
After the match, India chief coach Sjoerd Marijne acknowledged that the team struggled a bit with the jet lag in the beginning. However, he said that soon after the team played a very controlled game and created a lot of opportunities.
Sjoerd Marijne also appreciated the team’s attack as he said that in the last two quarters the opponents created a lot of pressure, but he was happy to see that the Indian team continued to remain positive with their attack. Marijne said he will try out a few things during the tour, including changing the players in the squad.
The Indian women’s hockey team will now lock horns with the New Zealand team on 27 and 29 January. They will next take on Britain on February 4 and then play New Zealand the next day.