A confident Indian Women’s Hockey Team will face a daunting task in their Semi-Final match of the Gold Coast 2018 XXI Commonwealth Games as they play World no. 5 and hosts Australia here at the Gold Coast Hockey Centre tomorrow.
India qualified for the Semi-finals by securing three consecutive victories in Pool A. After having lost to Wales 2-3 in the opening match of their campaign, the Indian team showed their character as they made an impressive comeback to finish second in their Pool, defeating Malaysia, World No. 2 England and South Africa. The three wins made sure that India qualified for the Semi-finals by accumulating nine points from their four matches, only behind England on goal difference.
Captain Rani, who scored the only goal in her team’s 1-0 victory South Africa in their last Pool A match, praised her team’s performances at the CWG. The 23-year-old said, “We had a tough start to the tournament here but the girls decided to work hard on the errors that we made in our opening match. We made sure that we were not making the same mistakes, and with the kind of attacking talent that we have in our team, we were always confident that we can defeat any team in the world.”
“However, I believe that the job is not done yet. We have an important match against the favourites of the competition and we are determined to do well. Australia is a very strong team and they are playing at home so it will not be easy. But we are confident in ourselves and will give our best on the pitch for our country,” expressed Rani on facing the hosts in the Semi-final.
The Indian team’s attack has been delivering so far in the competition as they have scored nine goals in the competition, with captain Rani having scored on three occasions. But the worrying factor for the Indian team could be their low shot conversion rate as only nine goals have come from a total of 48 attempted shots in the tournament. The team has played an attacking brand of hockey, but it could be difficult for them to find many opportunities against the Aussies and skipper Rani is wary of the importance of being efficient in front of goal. “We have been playing attacking hockey against the strong teams as well, so it is important for us to make sure that we are grabbing our chances with both hands. We need to make sure that we are efficient against the Australians as we might not get too many chances because they are a strong team,” said the skipper.
Chief Coach Harendra Singh believes that the team needs to keep improving in their quest for the Gold medal. He said, “The team is hungry to do well and want to keep improving everyday. There are a few areas we have noticed which require improvement and we have addressed them within the team. It is important that we stick to our game-plan and are disciplined in all areas.”
The Indian Women’s Hockey team will play their Semi-final match against Australia on 12 April, 2018 at 1645hrs IST.
Matches will be shown live on Sony SIX, Sony SIX HD, Sony Ten 3 and Sony Ten 3 HD while the live streaming will be available on SonyLIV.com