India’s Olympic campaign for 2020 began on a positive note with the Indian hockey team beating the Kiwis on the Hockey field. India comprehensively won the game 3 –2. With Rupinder and Harmanpreet bringing their names on the score sheet. Here’s a look at how the overall game panned out.
The First Quarter
The starting minutes of the game didn’t prove as fruitful for India as the All Blacks won a penalty corner in the 5th minute itself. It was a foul from Indian skipper Manpreet as his stick unintentionally hit Nic Woods on the face. This turned into a penalty corner and a thunderous strike from Kane Russell got the opposition a lead. The 10th minute was then the time of rising for the blues as veteran Rupinder Pal Singh’s lighting fast penalty corner flick seemed unstoppable and India equalized. The quarter ended with NZ getting 4 consecutive Penalty Corners and failing to convert them all.
The Second Quarter
This quarter witnessed a dominant possession from the New Zealander’s. Manpreet Singh however did get a one-on-one chance but failed to convert it. The dying minutes (26th) of this half saw India take the lead after Harmanpreet rammed the penalty corner into the back of the opposition net. Rupinder had made the assist this time around.
The Third Quarter
This was one of the most happening quarters. Another bright beginning to the quarter as Harmanpreet completed his brace from a penalty stroke this occasion. It was in the 33rd minute of the game and India took a comprehensive 3-1 lead due to this. With constant counterattacks, India was penetrating the NZ defense with Sreejesh having absolutely nothing to do. But the NZ attacker Stephen Jennes pulled one back for the Kiwis in the 40th minute to set up an exciting final quarter.
The Fourth Quarter
This was the quarter where Sreejesh was the star. Save after save after save. The Indian defense wasn’t that bad but the opponents were successful in winning consecutive penalty corners. Although India was marred with several inappropriate decisions even by the TV referrals, the players didn’t lose their cool. In the game’s dying moments, the Indians did concede consecutive penalty corners but it was Sreejesh and his men to the rescue. Manpreet showed his leadership as he was always the front blocker to the thunderbolt-like drag flicks from Kane Russell.
All in all, Birender Lakra, Rupinder and Harmanpreet had a great game. Lalit Upadhyay along with Amit Rohidas too was rattling the NZ defense on the left flank. With India playing the mighty Aussies tomorrow, this victory boosted the confidence of this relatively younger side.