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Rupinder Pal Singh’s brace hands India a well-deserved win against New Zealand

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Rupinder Pal Singh’s brace hands India a well-deserved win against New Zealand

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SportsCafe Desk


Rupinder Pal Singh’s brilliant brace along with goals from Mandeep Singh and Harmanpreet Singh helped India to a 4-2 win against New Zealand in the first match of a three-match Test series. India now lead the series 1-0 and will face the Kiwis in the second match on Saturday in Bangalore.

The Indian Hockey team were on high ever since they moved up one spot in the FIH rankings to number five from six as they displaced the German national team after PR Sreejesh & Co. finished with silver medals at the recently concluded FIH Champions Trophy in the Netherlands. The men in blue are gearing up for next month’s Asian Games in Indonesia with a three-match Test series against New Zealand.

And the Indians were at their very best in the first match of the series as they emerged victorious by a scoreline of 4-2 courtesy of goals from Rupinder Pal Singh (2', 34'), Mandeep Singh (15') and Harmanpreet Singh (38') while Stephen Jenness (26', 55') pulled two back for the visitors at the Sports Authority of India, Bengaluru Campus on Thursday.

Rupinder, who returned to the Indian team after he last featured in their disappointing outing at the 2018 Gold Coast CWG, was in stunning form for the hosts’ as he fired the ball low to beat New Zealand goalkeeper Richard Joyce in just the second minute of the match. Indian Goalkeeper Krishan Pathak was solid in goal as he kept the visitors from equalising in the seventh minute.

India doubled their lead to 2-0 when a Manpreet Singh cross was brilliantly picked up by forward Mandeep Singh who smoothly dispatched it into the goal of their opponents in the 15th minute of the game. After a more solid defence in the second quarter of the game, New Zealand finally made a breakthrough with Stephen Jenness, who scored a perfect field goal that cut the lead to 1-2.

However, after forward SV Sunil won India’s third PC, drag-flicker Rupinder Pal Singh was brilliant yet again as he flicked towards the top right of the net to score the home team’s third goal which took India's lead to 3-1 in the 34th minute.  SV Sunil created yet another golden opportunity for the hosts’ as he won another PC. This time it was Harmanpreet Singh, who was on target as he improvised the injection to powerfully convert India's fourth goal in the 38th minute and take the score to 4-1.

But it was not over yet, as the Kiwis managed to pull one back with Stephen Jenness converting his second goal of the match as his shot bounced off Indian goalkeeper Suraj Karkera's pad into the back of the net in the final quarter of the match as the match ended 4-2. 

The second match of the series will be played on Saturday and the Indians will fancy to win that one as well after they put in such a dominant performance in Bangalore today.

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