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 August 1, 2002 | 1045 IST

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India move into women's hockey final

Braving an inclement weather and some controversial umpiring decisions, India moved into the final of the women's hockey with a stunning 2-1 upset win over New Zealand at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester on Thursday.

India's Sumrai (L) tackles New Zealand's Jaimee Provan (R) during the semi-final match.
REUTERS/Darren Staples
Fresh from a dramatic victory against South Africa on Wednesday, the Indians scored once in each half against the Kiwis after conceding a goal early in the first half.

Jyoti Kullu (34) and Mamata Kharab (62) scored for India after New Zealand took the lead through a fifth minute goal by Suzie Pierce.

The victory, which assured the Indian women hockey team of a medal for the first time in the history of the Games, was more remarkable because they were robbed off a penalty stroke by the referee who ruled that Kullu was taking too much time to take the strike and asked play to be continued.

India was awarded the stroke in the 58th minute when Pritam Siwach was brought down inside the circle by the Kiwi defenders.

India's protest at the decision yielded no result as the umpire declined to revert the decision and instead showed a green card to the protesting Surajlata.

Later, England stunned world champions Australia 2-1 in the other semi-final to set up a title clash with India on Saturday.

The English team converted two penalty corners through Kate Walsh (17th minute) and Helen Grant (25th) to take a 2-0 lead by half-time. The lone goal for Australia, who are also the reigning Olympic champions, came in the 66th minute when Louise Dobson converted a penalty corner four minutes from the end.

Dobson had earlier missed a penalty stroke just before half-time.