This piece was published in Sportskeeda
New Zealand were always the overwhelming favourties going into the match against India. The 13th ranked Indians were expected to find the going tough against the 4th ranked Black Sticks and it did showed when they leaked an early penalty corner goal by Gemma Flynn.
The Neil Hawgood-coached were perturbed by the early goal but the tactical superiority of New Zealand was amply evident. The Black Sticks ran circles around the Indian defence, but the Ritu Rani-led side soaked up whatever their opponents threw at them, especially in their first half before giving it away in the second half.
Indian eves struggled to make any incisive raid in the New Zealand ‘D’ in the first half, who nearly doubled the lead close to half-time when Kirandeep Kaur foiled a menacing raid from the left. The Black Sticks led 1-0 at the break.
Crossing over, India raided the New Zealand ‘D’ and Vandana Katariya had a great opportunity to drew level but messed it up. New Zealand consolidated their position when Anita Punt converted their third penalty corner in the 45th minute. Pune converted a penalty stroke later to put the issue beyond India.
Talented Rani Rampal along with rest of the Indian forwardline were stifled by the tenacious New Zealand defence as they were not allowed to show their individual flair and make use of open spaces. India failed to engineer a single penalty corner, which just shows how ineffective their forwardline was.
India plays Trinidad & Tobago in their third league game on Monday. They need a big win on Monday to harbor hopes of a semifinal berth.