Shabaaz stars as Pakistan rout Malaysia
Former World champions Pakistan came up with a crisp display of attacking hockey to rout hosts Malaysia 4-1 in the Six-nation men's hockey tournament at the Bukit Jalil stadium, in Kuala Lumpur, on Sunday.
And the hero of their impressive victory was none other than all-time great Shabaaz Ahmed. The veteran forward showed he'll be the danger man to look out for at next month's World Cup as he ran circles round the Malaysian defenders and laid the ground for his teammates to finish.
The victory was the second for Pakistan following their 3-0 drubbing of World and Olympic champions Holland on the opening day of the tournament. Malaysia suffered their first defeat from two matches.
With clever use of short passes and hard running on the ball, Pakistan were always in command. It was only a question of how many goal they would win by. The 36-year-old Ahmed used his brilliant stickwork to mesmerize the Malaysian defence as he had done against the Dutch, which resulted in the floodgates opening as early as the tenth minute, when Saqlain Muhammad struck from a penalty-corner.
And though the Malaysian defence did a commendable job to keep the Pakistani forwards at bay and cross over at half-time only a goal in arrears, they were helpless in the second session after Ahmed made it 2-0 in the 45th minute with a goal that warmed the cockles of the heart.
The Malaysians fought back and reduced the margin in the 63rd minute through Tajol Rosli, who deflected into goal a hit from Maninderjit Singh. But that was the best they could come up with. Pakistan stepped up the pace and made it 3-1 four minutes later through a field goal from Kashif Jawad.
Penalty-corner specialist Shoail Abbas completed the rout a minute from the hooter, finding the net from a penalty-corner.
Pakistan had 12 shots at goal and five penalty-corners, while Malaysia had three shots at goal and one penalty- corner.
Day 2 report: Kiwis shock Holland; Aussies beat Japan
Day 1 report: Pak rout Holland; Australia, Malaysia up