Citing Q2 growth of 7.6 per cent in FY24, the Union finance minister said the country had the most significant growth making it the fastest-growing economy.
Skipper Harmanpreet Singh led the charge as India displayed awesome firepower to reduce Pakistan to smithereens handing the green shirts their worst ever 10-2 defeat at the 19th Asian Games Hangzhou on Saturday.
This is the first time in history that a team has managed to score 10 goals in an India vs Pakistan hockey match. This has been an absolute masterclass by the Indians in a big match as they virtually toyed with their Neighbours who not only looked listless but also clueless.
Harmanpreet Singh (11′, 17’, 33′, 34′) scored four goals, while Varun Kumar (41’, 54′) scored a brace. Mandeep Singh (8′), Sumit (30’), Shamsher Singh (46′), and Lalit Kumar Upadhyay (49′) scored a goal each. Muhammad Khan (38′), and Abdul Rana (45′) scored the goals for Pakistan.
Captain Harmanpreet Singh instantly started testing Pakistan with long passes inside the striking circle. An attacking move from the right flank from Mandeep Singh broke down after a miscommunication with Jarmanpreet Singh.
But Mandeep Singh (8′) made up for it a few minutes later, putting the ball into the nets to give India a 1-0 lead. Goalkeeper Krishan Bahadur Pathak made a solid save after Pakistan earned an early Penalty Corner, and a minute later, Harmanpreet Singh (11′) successfully converted a penalty stroke to make it 2-0 for India to close out the first quarter.
India earned an early penalty corner at the start of the second quarter, and Harmanpreet Singh (17′) scored the third goal for his side with a powerful drag flick.
Sumit remained alert in defence and deflected the danger away with ease after Pakistan began a counter-attack in search of their first goal.
Veteran goalkeeper PR Sreejesh made a crucial save with his left foot after Pakistan earned a late Penalty Corner. Sumit (30′) deflected the ball into the nets at the stroke of halftime to put India 4-0 ahead heading into the break.
An early error in defence in the second half from Pakistan led to India earning their second penalty stroke, and Harmanpreet Singh (33′) converted it with a picture-perfect scoop to complete his hat-trick. A minute later, the Indian skipper Harmanpreet (34′) converted a penalty corner to make it 6-0 for his side.
Pakistan finally got on board with Muhammad Khan (38′) scoring from a penalty corner of their own. Varun Kumar (41′) tapped the ball into the nets after receiving a pass from Sukhjeet Singh to make it 7-1 for India. But Pakistan pulled another goal back as Abdul Rana (45′) converted a penalty corner. India went into the final quarter with a 7-2 lead.
The fourth quarter started with Shamsher Singh (46′) picking a brilliant pass inside the circle, and turning around to hit it into the nets to make it 8-2 for India. Pakistan offered plenty of space to Lalit Kumar Upadhyay (49′), and the Indian forward struck the 9th goal for his side.
Varun Kumar (54′) scored his second goal of the match from a Penalty Corner to push India’s goals tally into the double figures. Sreejesh saved late Penalty corners from Pakistan, and India won the match 10-2.
Indian Men’s Hockey Team will next face off against Bangladesh on Monday, .
Before this match, India and Pakistan faced each other 179 times since their first meeting at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics final. Pakistan lead the head-to-head record with 82 wins while India has 65 victories. The remaining 32 matches were draws.
In recent times, however, it’s India who have had the better outcomes. At the last edition of the Asian Games, Jakarta 2018, India beat Pakistan 2-1 in the bronze medal match. The two teams last met in a heated affair at the Asian Champions Trophy 2023 in Chennai back in August, where India beat Pakistan by a 4-0 scoreline.
In fact, since 2013, India and Pakistan have faced each other 24 times, in which India have won 16 times, while Pakistan have won five times. Three games ended in a draw.