A brace by skipper Rani Rampal and goals by Sharmila and Namrita Toppo helped the visiting Indian women’s hockey team to start its tour of New Zealand with a flattering 4-0 win over New Zealand Development team in Auckland on Saturday. After arriving in Auckland on Thursday for the tour where it will play the hosts in four matches and Great Britain in one match, India played with an intent to win.
Though it took India all of the first half to shake off the starting blues, striker Rani fetched India’s first goal in the third quarter. “In the beginning we struggled a bit with the jet lag but after that we played a very controlled game and created a lot of opportunities,” stated the Chief Coach Sjoerd Marijne after the match.
India continued to build on its 1-0 lead by creating back-to-back PCs in the following minutes but could not convert. “The last two quarters New Zealand created a lot of pressure and the home team pressed hard but we continued to remain positive with our attack,” Marijne added.
Youngster Sharmila doubled the lead in the third quarter and Rani stretched a lead to 3-0 when she scored her second goal of the match in the fourth quarter. Namita Toppo earned India’s fourth goal. “Today we played with 16 players just like the Olympic Games and every match we will change the players. Whether they make the squad depends on these matches and how they cope under pressure,” stated the Dutchman.
He also added, “We tried a few new things in the match today but we still need improvement and that’s why we are here, to improve our game in every match.”