India edge out New Zealand in a thriller, storm into final
Melbourne, Mar 23 (UNI) Riding on Surinder Kaur's stunning opportunistic goal seven minutes before the long whistle, defending champion India edged out fancied New Zealand 1-0 to storm into the final of the women's hockey competition of the Commonwealth Games here today.
India survived the first half Kiwi onslaught, regrouped themselves in the second and then struck the winner at the fag end of the match giving no chance to their rivals to recover.
The defending champions owe their victory to goalkeeper Helen Mary, who is playing her third Commonwealth Games. Mary stood between victory and New Zealand as she brought off some outstanding saves and in the process established herself as one of the best goalkeepers of the tournament.
It has been a roller-coaster ride for the Indian girls on their way to the final. They started their campaign disastrously, losing to Australia in their opener and then they drew with South Africa before coming back into the reckoning with big wins over Nigeria and Malaysia.
''It was a great show and a great win'' said beaming coach Maharaj Kishan Kaushik.
''I knew that the girls have the potentials. It was just a question of self-belief. Today they played with that self-belief and the result is there for all to see,'' he said.
''The forwards performed their job and others coordinated well.
Everybody played their part well and Helen Mary was simply outstanding under the bar,'' he added.
It was a brilliant performance by the braveheart Indian eves, who did not give in against the marauding Kiwis in the first session, defended well and then countered with confidence to rattle their opponent.
The Kiwis, on their part, have themselves to blame for the defeat.
They muffed chances galore and could not make use of the penalty corners in the first session.
The Kiwis clearly underestimated their opposition and looked amused rather then worried after missing chances.
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