A spirited India beat New Zealand 4-0 to end their campaign at the 26th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup Tournament 2017 with a Bronze Medal here on Saturday. It was double penalty corners converted by Rupinder Pal Singh (17 and 27’) and splendid fields goal by S.V Sunil (48’), Talwinder Singh (60’) that helped India find success against the dangerous Black Sticks.
India made a dominating start, creating plenty of opportunities in the first quarter putting New Zealand on the backfoot. Only a minute into the game, India earned their first PC when forward SV Sunil found Kane Russell’s foot in the circle but Harmanpreet Singh’s flick hit New Zealand’s first rusher giving India another opportunity at a PC. The Black Sticks’ defence, however, denied India an early lead. Another chance was lost when an impulsive Mandeep Singh on the counter attack raced into the striking circle and took a shot on goal but was saved by an alert Richard Joyce. With three minutes to go for the first hooter, Manpreet Singh set-up a perfect shot on goal with Mandeep perfectly poised to take the shot but unfortunately the youngster couldn’t connect the ball to get a deflection.
Going into the second quarter in a stalemate, Akashdeep Singh was quick to win India their third PC with some good dribbling skills in the circle. Rupinder Pal Singh ensured this chance didn’t go begging with a well-timed flick sending it low on the right to beat Joyce and give India a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute. India kept the Malaysian spectators entertained with a thrilling charge made by Mandeep Singh who raced into the striking circle only to assist Akashdeep with a square pass, though they couldn’t convert a field goal, the attempt helped India win their fourth PC. Joyce made a good attempt to save Rupinder’s flick but the umpire awarded India another PC due to dangerous play. This time Rupinder used similar tactic of sending the ball low on the right that worked like magic, beating Joyce yet again, clinching India a splendid 2-0 lead in the 27th minute. This was Rupinder Pal Singh’s third goal in the tournament.