Pakistan, Australia draw 2-2
Twice in arrears, Pakistan rallied strongly to hold Australia to a 2-2 draw in a match of academic interest in the Six-nation Invitational men's hockey tournament at the Bukit Jalil stadium in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.
In the day's other matches, Malaysia went down fighting 2-3 to Holland while New Zealand and Japan drew 3-3.
Though both teams were assured of a berth in Saturday's final, the last league match of the tournament between Pakistan and Australia was a thrilling affair. Australia opened the scoring in the third minute when Jeremy Hiskins lunged out at the far post to connect a cross from Jamie Dwyer past Pakistan 'keeper Qasim Muhammad.
However, the Pakistanis, led by the nimble-footed Shabaaz Ahmad, were undaunted and went about their task for the equaliser with good use of both the flanks. They were rewarded for their efforts in the 28th minute when Khasif Jawad scored the equalizer.
But the lead was short-lived as the Aussies hit back within four minute, with Hiskins scoring from an acute angle.
Sohail Abbas put Pakistan on level terms again when he found the roof of the Australian goal with a superb drag flick in the 38th minute.
The result meant that Pakistan topped the league while Australia finished second.
The 3-3 draw saw the Kiwis finish fourth, with five points. Malaysia too had the same number of points but were pushed to fifth place because of a two-goal difference.
New Zealand will meet Holland in the match for the third and fourth places.
Japan scored the opening goal in the 11th minute through Akira Takahashi while the Kiwis restored parity in the 19th minute through David Kosoof.
Two minutes later Japan earned a penalty-corner and captain Takahiko Yamabori's low flick went past the Kiwi goalkeeper Simon Towns.
But just after the restart, Bevan Hari wrote his name on the scoresheet to make it 2-2.
Play was confined to midfield for most of the second session till each team scored in the last five minutes.
New Zealand went 3-2 up through Philip Burrows before Yamabori got the equaliser and his second in the match, two minutes later.
With the result, Japan finished at the bottom of the table with only a point to show and will play hosts Malaysia for the fifth and sixth classification match.
Six-nation invitational tournament - the complete coverage
Day 6 report: Pakistan relax in win over New Zealand
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