After a successful outing against Poland, the Indian women’s hockey team faced world no. 2 Australia in their final pool ‘B’ match. With a win needed to stay in the top half of the table, India had to play out of their skins to contain the Hockeyroos. Despite a valiant fight by the Indian eves, Australia won the match by a convincing margin of 4-2. Defender Jodie Kenny accounted for all the goals as she struck three from penalty corners and topped it up with a goal through a penalty stroke. India were impressive on the field but tiny errors inside the circle cost them the match.
Jodie Kenny puts Australia into lead, Vandana Katariya equalizes in electrifying first quarter
Australia got off to a dream start as they were awarded a penalty corner in the second minute of the match itself. Jodie Kenny waited at the top of the circle for the drag flick and scored the opener for Australia with a brilliantly executed hit that went between the Indian goalkeeper and the defender to her left. Just three minutes later, Vandana Katariya made a smart deflection off Deepika’s incoming hit into the goal to draw level.
Kenny gets back the lead immediately, first half ends at 2-1
In the 6th minute, Australia managed to find another penalty corner and it was Jodie Kenny who once again who scored in the same direction to get back the lead. No goals were scored for the next 24 minutes and the first half ended at 2-1 in favour of the Australians.
Second half: Poonam Rani draws level for India, Jodie Kenny seals victory with two more goals
Despite Australia being ahead in terms of goals scored, it was India who enjoyed a larger share of ball possession. The blues made Australia work around the pitch endlessly and made it difficult for them to get past the defenders. India were awarded their first penalty corner in the 33rd minute and after a bit of a scramble, Poonam Rani managed to slot the ball home with some help from Kenny, whose pushed the ball further into the goal. In the same minute, Australia were on the charge once again and the ball yet again found an Indian foot inside the circle to hand Australia another penalty corner. Jodie Kenny fired the ball into the top right corner to complete her hat-trick.
With just over a minute left for the completion of third quarter, Indian goalkeeper Rajani Etimarpu took down an Australian forward with a strong challenge in an attempt to clear the ball. Replays suggested that Rajani tackled the player after the pass was completed and Australia were now awarded a penalty stroke. It was Jodie Kenny once again who comfortably scored from the set piece to give Australia an unassailable 4-2 lead. The Indian team gave it their all in the last 15 minutes of the match but the Aussies managed to hold on to the 4-2 lead at full time. A word of appreciation for India as they had positioned themselves brilliantly behind each Australian player and prevented them from scoring any field goals. They conceded a total of 9 penalty corners, which proved way too costly for the Indians.
Dutch challenge for India in quarter-finals
India play in-form team Netherlands from pool ‘A’ in the quarter-finals on June 30. The Dutch are in devastating form as they have registered gigantic 11-0 and 9-0 wins in the group stages. India have an uphill task ahead of them as they have to beat Netherlands to keep their Olympic dreams alive.
India women 2 (Vandana Katariya 5′, Poonam Rani 33′) lose to Australia women 4 (Jodie Kenny 2′, 6′, 33′, 44′)