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Underdog India hopes to upset Aussies to retain hockey gold

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Melbourne, Mar 24 (UNI) Odds are stacked against defending champion India as they take on huge home favourite Australia in the final of the Women hockey competition of the Commonwealth Games here tomorrow.

India were just lucky to have won against New Zealand in the semifinals but whether the same luck can hold on against the Aussies remains to be seen.

Australia had beaten India 4-2 in the opening match of the competition and now the teams will be playing each other for the ultimate honour in the last tie and the million dollar question is will the defending champions be able to defy the odds and avenge their earlier defeat to retain the gold.

One thing is certain that India can not be underestimated. They came back roaring after being virtually written off and in the semifinals it was the New Zealand side which kept attacking but the defending champions ran away with a solitary goal win.

The Indian forwards -- Jyoti Kullu, Mamta Kharab and Saba Anjum -- have till not produced a cohesive play and the final will give them another chance to make amends.

The midfielders worked hard but Asunta Lakra and Subhadra Pradhan need not to hold on to the ball for long and skipper Sumrai Tete will have to be more focused on the game rather than arguing with the umpires.

The only Indian player who has been outstanding so far is their goalkeeper Helen Mary and but for her, the champions would not have made it to the final.

Her teammates should derive inspiration from the goalkeeper whose never-say-die attitude has helped the side reach the final.

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