India women's hockey team will face Canada in their first match of the Commonwealth Games 2014 at the Glasgow National Hockey Center on Thursday.
The India team is heading into the multisport event on the back of fine performances, as they completed a clean-sweep over Malaysia in a recently-concluded six-match series.
Going by the current form of the teams, the India eves head in as favourites, while also edging Canada in the head-to-head encounter. India have defeated Canada in both previous meetings in CWG, including a fifth-place playoff match in 2010.
India are pooled alongside Canada, New Zealand, Trinidad and Tobago and South Africa in Group A and skipper Ritu Rani is confident that that the young players will prove themselves in the international stage after putting impressive performances in the recent tour.
"I am very confident and at ease with the present form of my team members," Ritu Rani said. "Each player, irrespective of whether they are experienced or young, is high on confidence and determined to give their best.
"A very interesting aspect that I see amongst the young players in this team is their hunger to showcase their play and to prove themselves on the international arena.
"Be it Ritusha or Anupa in the forward or Lilima and Navjot in the Midfield or Namita in the defence each one has stood up to their responsibility and delivered with plan in the past and I see them yet again eager to deliver."
Canada are nine places below India in the FIH world rankings but coach Neil Hawgood is not taking the North Americans lightly and insisted that his players are looking to continue their good form. He also pointed out that the team needs to keep Canada's skipper Kate Gillis in check.
"I am confident of the girls to give a tough time to Canada tomorrow, I am still keeping my fingers crossed," Hawgood said. "Though India has been in the best of forms in the recent past, we cannot forget that Canada with its young team is hungry to prove a point too.
"It will be their captain and forward Kate Gillis who we consider will be their key towards a good performance tomorrow and we are ready with our strategy on her. Our aim will be to have a winning start in the event and then maintain that momentum further."
Indian Squad: Goalkeeper: Savita
Defenders: Deep Grace Ekka, Deepika, Kirandeep Kaur, Namita Toppo and Jaspreet Kaur.
Midfielders: Ritu Rani (c), Sushila Chanu, Lilima Minz, Vandana Katariya and Navjot Kaur.
Forwards: Rani, Poonam Rani, Ritusha Arya, Anupa Barla and Anuradha Devi.
Where to Watch Live
The first match, between England and Malaysia, is scheduled for a 9:00 am local time (1:30 pm IST) start, with India vs Canada match set for a 4:00 pm local time (8:30 pm IST) start. Live coverage in India is on Ten Sports, with the live streaming option HERE and HERE. The action will be available live on CBS Sports in Canada with online streaming option HERE.
BBC will telecast the games live in the United Kingdom, with live streaming option HERE or follow the updates HERE. Network Ten will broadcast the matches live in Australia with an online viewing option HERE. For International viewers, including the United States, the action will be available live on official Commonwealth Games 2014 YouTube channel for free HERE.