Melbourne (27 Nov, 2016): India concluded its campaign in the Four Nations International Festival of Hockey in Melbourne on Sunday with an emphatic 4-1 victory over Malaysia in the play-off for bronze medal.
World No 1 Australia won the final 3-1 against New Zealand but the Black Sticks held on strongly in the second half and fought hard to contain the fired-up Kookaburras from scoring more goals.
Akashdeep Singh scored within two minutes of play to give India the lead and team captain VR Raghunath doubled it in the 45th minute from a penalty corner. However, midfielder Joel van Huizen pulled one back for Malaysia Tigers 20 seconds before the end of the third quarter but India upped the ante in the last quarter to score two goals within a space of six minutes.
Talwinder Singh and drag-flick specialist Rupinder Pal Singh completed the day for India with goals in the 52nd and 58th minutes.
The Indians got off in the tournament with a 3-2 loss against Australia and defeated Malaysia 4-2 in the second match but a 2-3 defeat against New Zealand ended their chances of reaching the final.
Australia had gone ahead through a Trent Mitton goal from close range in 24th minute which beat goalkeeper Richard Joyce on his left side and Christopher Bausor put Australia 2-0 with a long range shot in the 37th minute but the Black Sticks reduced the deficit through Kane Russell penalty corner drag flick in the 48th minute. Jeremy Hayward, however, took Australia forward and ended New Zealand’s hopes inside the last two minutes of play.
New Zealand also lost the round robin game to the Australians 3-1, but a draw against world No 14 Malaysia and dramatic 3-2 win over No 6 India got the eighth-ranked Black Sticks into the final.
Last weekend, New Zealand beat Australia 2-1 for their first win over the Australians in New Zealand since 1967. Australia has won the other four matches between the Trans Tasman rivals this year, including at the Rio Olympics and the Sultan Azlan Shah tournament in Malaysia in April.