The Indian Women’s Hockey Team began their 18thAsian Games Jakarta-Palembang 2018 campaign with an emphatic 8-0 victory against the hosts Indonesia in their first Pool B match which took place here at the Gelora Bung Karno Hockey Field today. The Indian team produced a strong performance against the hosts, who were making their debut in Women’s hockey at the Asian Games. It was drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur who scored a hat-trick for India as she converted in the 17th, 22nd and 57th minutes, while striker Vandana Katariya (14’, 28’), Navneet Kaur (25′, 50’) and Udita (9′) also registered their names on the score-sheet.

The Indian team started the first quarter by winning three consecutive Penalty Corners in the first six minutes, but the Indonesian defence did well to block the first two attempts and the third attempt saw Gurjit Kaur force a save by the Indonesian Goalkeeper Selly Amalia Florentina. In the 9th minute though, Namita Toppo’s shot from the edge of the circle was stopped by the Indonesian Goalkeeper Florentina but India’s Udita put the rebound into the back of the net to give India the lead. India continued to dominate the possession in the latter stages of the first period and extended their lead to two goals in the 14th minute as Vandana Katariya played a one-two with Navjot Kaur inside the striking circle. It was the former who produced a fine finish to help India end the first quarter with a two goal advantage.

The World No. 9 Indian team started the second quarter by extending their lead to three goals as Gurjit Kaur converted a Penalty Corner with a well-taken drag-flick towards the right of the Indonesian Goalkeeper to get on the score-sheet in the 17th minute. India continued to threaten the hosts and won another Penalty Corner in the 21st minute, but Gurjit Kaur’s shot was saved by the Goalkeeper, but the Indian drag-flicker scored her second goal of the match in the next minute when she converted another Penalty Corner to take India’s lead to four goals. The Indian team kept thriving forward as they dominated the match against the host nation. India’s fifth goal came in the 25th minute when Forward Navneet Kaur wriggled past two Indonesian defenders and got a reverse shot away, which made its way into the back of net. The Indian team did not hold back as they won themselves a seventh PC in the 28th minute and the resulting execution saw Vandana Katariya find herself at the right spot to score her second goal of the match which saw India take a six-goal lead into the half-time interval.

The Indian team earned two more PCs in the early stages of the third quarter, but the Indonesian defence held firm to keep out the Indians. In the 37th minute, Captain Rani forced the Indonesian Goalkeeper to make a double save, and then earn her team another PC. However, Rani’s resulting shot was well saved by Goalkeeper Florentina again. A minute later, India won another PC which was taken by Gurjit Kaur but hit the first rusher’s body and was deemed dangerous by the umpire. The Indonesian team could not stitch passes together throughout the match, which meant that the World No. 9 team dominated the match. The latter had several chances in the third quarter but could not be efficient enough as the period ended goal-less with India leading 6-0.

The start of the fourth quarter saw India win four consecutive PCs in the 49th minute as they kept the pressure on their opponents, but the visitors could not make the most of their opportunities as Indonesia defended well. However, it was Navneet Kaur who scored her second goal in the 50th minute as she deflected Monika’s pass from the right flank into the back of the net to make the scores 7-0 in India’s favour. The Indian team scored their eighth goal of the match in the 57th minute as drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur completed her hat-trick to put India 8-0 ahead and help her team start their Asian Games campaign on a high.

The Indian Women’s Hockey Team will play their second Pool B match against Kazakhstan on Tuesday, 21st August 2018 at 18.30hrs IST.