Indian skipper Ritu Rani’s last minute goal saw India finish on the top of the tree in round two of the Womens Hockey World League. Vandana Katariya and Rani Rampal were the others on the scoresheet as India beat Poland by three goals to one.
1st Quarter: India On The Ascendency; Vandana Katariya scores
As they have done right through the tournament, the Indian eves were off the blocks right from the first whistle. Forward Soundarya Yendala failed to get a deflection from a shot from Poonam Rani with barely a few seconds played. However, realising that their opponents were no pushovers, the Indians continued the stern dominance over the Poles. The relentless pressure resulted in a penalty corner with five minutes on the clock. Jaspreet Kaur’s feeble shot failed to create any problems for Polish keeper Marta Kucharska.
Vandana Katariya’s backhanded shot ensured that the 23 year old starlet had put her side ahead. It was her 11th goal of the season. The goal, with barely 20 seconds to play, marked the end of the first quarter.
2nd Quarter: Poland find their feet; Oriana Walasek draws level
Having scored on the cusp of the first quarter, the Indians showcased a slight bit of complacency in the opening minutes of the second quarter. Sloppy defending from Lilima Linz resulted in a Polish penalty corner. A magnificent variation from the the Poles saw Oriana Walasek calmly slot the ball past past Savita.
Apart from a couple of skirmishes from each side, the first half eventually concluded at 1-1.
3rd Quarter: Rani Rampal Renewes Indian Hopes
Determined to finish atop the standings, the Poles emerged from the tunnel clearly rejuvenated. The first few minuted saw a complete Polish dominance, as they won a string of penalty corners. Despite their strength lying in penalty corners, Joanna Wieloch and Paulina Okaj failed to convert any courtesy of the brilliance of Savita in goal.
As they did in the first half, the Indian eves struck once more. With 44 minutes played, Rani Rampal’s fantastic backhand shot from a tight angle ensured that her side was back in the lead.
4th Quarter: Ritu Rani Seals Win
The fourth quarter had perhaps the most fitting of conclusions. Captain Ritu Rani scored the final goal with 59 minutes played. A brisk counterattack from Amandeep Kaur and Poonam Rani saw the Indian captain latch on to a loose ball to give her side a two goal cushion.
The game at this juncture was well and truly beyond Poland.
Roelant Oltmans will be pleased with his side’s performance. However, he will also realise the problems they faced all through the tournament, especially the penalty corner conversions. Also injuries to Vandana Katariya and Rani Rampal will certainly be a spot of bother for the coach. However, as things stand, Oltmans will be pleased with the win.