SCOTLAND, JULY 26 : With a comfortable win over Canada in their opening match, the Indian now prepare to take on higher ranked New Zealand in their next match of the Commonwealth Games to be played here on July 27. Playing high on their confidence, the Indian hockey girs are aiming to better their performance and emerge victorious yet again over their opponents.
With Jaspreet Kaur being the star of the last match scoring two goals against Canada and the Rani duo keeping the momentum in the first half, it will be Ritusha Arya yet again that the team will be looking at to go firing this time around. While New Zealand’s Anita Punt will be the player that India has to watch out for, however Indian Captain Ritu Rani is confident that her girls will keep her under control. With an exciting match around the corner, it will be seen whether the Indian girls will be able to keep their nerves and come out victorious over the Black Sticks.
Speaking on the match, midfielder and captain Ritu Rani said, “I am extremely elated at the manner the team kick started the tournament. Victory in the very first match of the tournament has given a new dimension to the hopes and aspirations of the players. The team is in good shape and will perform its best in all aspects of the match. The vigorous training we went through will help us to carry out well in the game and we will try not to concede goals and win by a better margin in the forthcoming match. While we are high on confidence but we cannot take the opponents lightly hence we are focused and aim to add to the winning tally yet again.”
Indian chief coach Team Neil Hawgood said, “The team is in good form and their efforts are visible on the field. The girls are excited and will try to maintain the winning momentum in the event. We have worked on our penalty corner conversions during our practice session here today. The match against New Zealand will be a battle of wits and our team will be raring to prove their point yet again”
New Zealand eves stand fourth in the recent International Hockey Federation (FIH) World Rankings. India had previously met New Zealand in the 2006 Commonwealth Games where India overcame New Zealand 1-0, the later finishing second in the tournament. While, during the 2002 Commonwealth Games, India lost to New Zealand 1-3 in the preliminary round while the semi finals of the games saw India defeating New Zealand 2-1 and later returning home with a gold at the end of the event.
“India will be tough, they had a good win against Canada and they always play well at a Commonwealth Games and to be honest if we don’t lift our game then we are going to be under pressure. For that game we need to be more clinical, treasure the ball, and just make better decisions when we pass and go forward,” said head coach Mark Hager in Hockey New Zealand.