A place in the final of the International Festival of Hockey is at stake as India face off against New Zealand in Melbourne on Saturday. Having won one and lost the other, India need a win in order to confirm their place in the summit clash against hosts Australia.
India started their International Festival of Hockey campaign off with a 3-2 loss to the favourites and home side Australia. Playing without several of their key players, including talisman PR Sreejesh, India gave Australia, also without a few of their regulars, a really good fight, but eventually fell short.
After taking the lead in the second quarter, via a Rupinder Pal Singh penalty corner, India conceded soon after to allow Australia a way back in. The home team then took control in the second half, scoring two goals to make it 3-1 and while Rupinder struck another penalty corner goal, India did not have enough left in the tank to find an equaliser.
The second match was much better for the team in blue, with Rupinder again getting on the scoresheet by showing his immense drag-flicking skills. However, it was Nikkin Thimmaiah who grabbed the spotlight, finishing with a brace, including the winner in the final quarter of the match.
Nikkin and Akashdeep Singh scored in the final five minutes of the match, after Malaysia had equalised to make it 2-2, to give India their first win of this four-nation hockey tournament.
New Zealand are yet to pick up a win so far. They needed a late goal to hold Malaysia to a 1-1 draw in their opening match, while they were then beaten by Australia, who, with the 3-1 victory, sealed a place in the final.
Considering India are the only other team to win so far in this tournament, another positive result will be enough to take them through to a final against Australia.
Where to Watch Live
India vs New Zealand is set to begin at 5pm local time (11.30am IST). Live Streaming and TV information is below.
India: TV: No live coverage. Live Streaming: Epicentre (Also available for all international viewers outside Australia and New Zealand).
Australia: TV: Fox Sports 3. Live Streaming: Foxtel.
New Zealand: TV: Sky Sport 1. Live Streaming: Sky Go.