Auckland, Feb 5 (IANS) The Indian women’s hockey team on Wednesday defeated hosts New Zealand by 3-0, thus ending their New Zealand Tour on a high. Playing their last match in the five-match tour, India stuck to a disciplined structure, remained assertive in their attack and ensured a good finish without letting the pressure daunt their efforts to win.
Striker Navneet Kaur starred for India as she set up the team’s first goal in the 45th minute to give the visitors a 1-0 lead. Soon after, youngster Sharmila doubled the lead when she struck a powerful shot past New Zealand goalkeeper in the 54th minute.
Navneet rallied back in the 58th minute with a beautiful goal that ensured India won 3-0. While the Indian forwards had stitched together a successful attack that saw them make space in the striking circle, India’s defence remained defiant to ensure New Zealand had little chance to score.
Though India had begun the tour on a positive note, having won their first match 4-0 against the New Zealand Development Squad, the team lost the following two matches 1-2 and 0-1 respectively to the New Zealand national team. In their previous match, however, skipper Rani’s lone goal had ensured India register a 1-0 win against Great Britain.
“The team ensured a good ending to the tour and I am happy we produced three goals against New Zealand in the last match. This tour gave us a good insight about where we need to improve and one of the things is to create faster play than we do now,” expressed chief coach Sjoerd Marijne reflecting on the team’s performance in the five-match Tour.
Expressing his observations about the team’s performance during the tour, Marijne said, “Sometimes we tend to keep the ball too long on the stick and then we create pressure to our own self. We need to avoid that by passing faster.”
“On the defence side, we need to be a bit calmer and need to improve how we tackle. We will have a four week camp after a short break now when we return home. We will be working on these points during the forthcoming camp apart from a few other aspects,” he added.