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 January 23, 2002 | 1835 IST

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Pakistan relax in easy win
over New Zealand

Pakistan maintained their impressive run in the Six-nation invitational men's hockey tournament with a comfortable 3-1 victory over New Zealand at the National hockey stadium in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur, on Wednesday.

The victory, their fourth from as many matches, gave them 12 points and place in Saturday's final, where their opponents are likely to be Australia, who they clash with in their last league match on Thursday.

The Aussies could have sealed a final berth had they beaten Malaysia in the earlier match on Wednesday. Instead they ended up with a 2-2 draw.

Pakistan played at a relaxed pace in the first half, which enabled the Kiwis to draw first blood. However, once they drew level through Sohail Abbas a minute from the breather they called the shots in the second session. In fact, had New Zealand 'keeper Michael Bevin not brought off some breathtaking saves, Pakistan may have won by a tennis scoreline.

The Kiwis took the lead in the 12th minute through Ken Robinson while Pakistan levelled just before the half time when Abbas sent the ball to the roof off the Kiwi goal.

Kashif Jawad made it 2-1, scoring his seventh goal in this tournament after receiving a through pass from Shahbaz Ahmed, who was gulity of missing a couple of easy chances, and substitute Saleem Khalid completed the demolition.

Malaysia rally to hold Australia

In the earlier match, hosts Malaysia came up with an inspired performance to hold mighty Australia to a 2-2 draw.

The Malaysians were twice in arrears but their came back strongly to earn a creditable draw. Had it not been for some erratic finishing in the second half, when they stepped up the pace, they may have just about snatched victory.

Malaysia took time to settle down and the Aussies took advantage of their ploy of packing the defence. With good use of the flanks they drew their defenders out and opened the scoring in the 11th minute through Troy Elder.

But the hosts made the best of splintering through against the run of play thereafter and drew parity in the 29th minute through skipper Mirnawan Nawawi.

However, with barely a few seconds left for half-time, the Aussies regained the lead through Jamie Dywer.

After the breather, it was the Malaysians who made all the play. They were rewarded in the 50th minute when Jiwa Mohan scored off a penalty-corner set piece.

Instead of taking a direct shot at goal, Chua Boon Huat put Mohan through. The last-named did well to beat Australia's 'keeper Mark Hickman.

Malaysia could clinched the issue in the 63rd minute but Tajol Rosli shot over.

With the draw, Malaysia have five points while Australia have eight from two wins and two draws.

Six-nation invitational tournament - the complete coverage

Day 5 report: Holland prove too good for Japan
Day 4 report: Dutch, Aussies in thrilling draw
Day 3 report: Shabaaz stars as Pakistan rout Malaysia
Day 2 report: Kiwis shock Holland; Aussies beat Japan
Day 1 report: Pak rout Holland; Australia, Malaysia up