In the last pool game against China, who are ranked number 5 in the world, India lost 2-1 to suffer their third straight loss at the Hawke's Bay Cup at Hastings, New Zealand. India are currently at the bottom of Pool B, which also contains New Zealand and Ireland.
The match started slowly, with most of the battles taking place in the midfield and both teams struggling to penetrate the circle. China had the best opportunity of the quarter with a PC which was well saved by Savita in goal to take the teams to the break tied 0-0.
India came to life in the second quarter early. Rani scored off a swiftly worked counter from the right, giving India the lead in the 19th minute. China immediately hit back, and won a PC of their own, but another save from Savita ensured India went into the break with their lead intact.
The third quarter saw resolute defending from India, as China controlled most of the possession. Monika in particular was very good at marshalling the defence and dropping deep to ensure the numbers denied China openings for goal. With the last play of the quarter though, China scored the equaliser through Yu Qian.
The final quarter saw several chances fall for both teams as they tried to take full points. Deepika, took charge and had a couple of half chances that went wide of the post. Wang Mengyu scored the winner for China through a PC with five minutes left on the clock.
Speaking after the game, Coach CR Kumar said, “We gave a tough game today to a team that are higher ranked than us. Crucial mistakes at the end of the final quarters denied us the points. Our defence was secure, but we now need to focus on getting the ball upfield quicker to score goals.”
India play Japan in their quarterfinal game on 7th April, 2016.
The 2016 Hawke's Bay Cup is an invitational 8 nation women tournament, held between April 2-10 as part of the festival of hockey in New Zealand. The venue for the three-year-old event, is the stunning Hawke's Bay Regional Sports Park in Hastings. For the 2016 tournament, the eight participating nations are Australia, Canada, China, India, Ireland, Japan, Korea and New Zealand. Today's matches saw Japan beat Korea, Australia defeat Canada and China edge past India. The final group game will see hosts New Zealand take on Ireland.
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