Talwinder, Harmanpreet and Akashdeep score braces as India thrash Pakistan 7-1

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Talwinder, Harmanpreet and Akashdeep score braces as India thrash Pakistan 7-1

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SportsCafe Desk

06/18/2017

India snatched the top spot, in Pool B, from the Netherlands after putting six past sub-continental rivals Pakistan in their third game of the Hockey World League semi-finals. Talwinder Singh, Akashdeep Singh, and Harmanpreet Singh completed braces while Pardeep Mor claimed a goal in the rout.

As the cricket crazy sub-continent fans were glued to their television screens for the Cricket Champions Trophy semi-finals between India and Pakistan, their respective hockey teams faced off against each other just eight miles away. While Pakistan have traditionally been the more dominant force (82W, 55L), since the turn of the decade, India have been the team that has had the upper hand (12W, 8L).

Harmanpreet puts India ahead after early Pakistan domination

Having lost both their matches in the tournament so far, Pakistan came into the game with a set gameplan as they appeared to be the team most likely to open the scoring. Ajaz Ahmad got the first chance of the game when he found enough space to get his shot off but the ball went well wide of the target. India, however, were beginning to play counter-attacking hockey as Akashdeep found himself one-on-one with the goalkeeper but his flickshot was straight into Pakistani goalkeeper Amjad Ali’s pads. With just over a minute to play in the quarter, it was the Men in Blue who took the lead, against the run of play, when Harmanpreet Singh’s low flick off a penalty corner hit the back of the net.

Talwinder “doubles” trouble for Pakistan

Pakistan had a great chance to make their way back into the game but Muhammad Bilal’s shot from a penalty corner was wide. In the next minute, India messed up a penalty corner of their own, but made up for it by doubling his tally in the very next minute. After some good build-up play between Sumit and Satbir, the ball fell for Talwinder who calmly passed it into the goal. Three minutes later, Talwinder was it again as he smartly flicked a ball past Ali and even though the decision was referred, replays validated that it was a legitimate goal. India saw out the remaining six minutes to go into the midway break with a comfortable 3-0 lead.

India increase lead against the run of play

Standing in goal for Akash Chikte, rookie Vikas Dahiya’s day came to an early end when Roelant Oltmans decided to send the senior player in for the second half and Chikte was called into action early when he saved an Ajaz shot three minutes into the third quarter. Having kept their cleansheet, India went down the other end and earnt themselves a penalty corner which Harmanpreet used to complete his brace for the day. However, even though they had conceded four goals, Pakistan continued to pile the pressure to which Chikte responded with two quick saves. India managed to see off the quarter with the scoreboard reading a resounding 4-0 in India’s favour.

Akashdeep joins brace club with quickfire double

Rooted to the bottom of the pool, Pakistan had nothing to lose and threw caution to the wind as they tried to claw their way back into the game. However, it had a counter impact on Pakistan as some brilliant passing between Akashdeep and Sardar led to the former scoring India’s fifth of the game. Three minutes later, the score had a routish feel to it as Pardeep Mor got his name on the scoresheet as well. Pakistan finally got the goal they had been threatening since the first quarter through Muhammad Umar Bhutta hit off their fifth penalty corner. However, it was India who had the last laugh as Akashdeep restored the six-goal cushion with his second of the match. The win takes India to the top of the table over Netherlands, who still have a game in hand.

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