Young striker Dilpreet Singh scored a hat-trick as India crushed Oman 11-0.
India will next take on arch-rivals Pakistan on Saturday, October 20, at 2240 hours IST.
Defending champions India began their title defence at the fifth Asian Champions Trophy 2018 with a convincing 11-0 victory against hosts Oman in their first round-robin match in Muscat on Thursday.
India's forwards were in prime form in their opening match as striker Dilpreet Singh struck a hat-trick, scoring in the 41st, 55th and 57th minutes while Lalit Upadhyay (17th minute), Harmanpreet Singh (22nd minute), Nilakanta Sharma (23rd minute), Mandeep Singh (30th minute), Gurjant Singh (37th minute), Akashdeep Singh (48th minute), Varun Kumar (49th minute) and Chinglensana Singh Kangujam (53rd minute) were all on target which ensured a stupendous start for the World No. 5 team.
Oman had earlier started the match well as they tried to attack the Indian team from push-back, but could not find the finish they were expecting as India avoided going behind early.
The following minutes saw India take control of the match and create opportunities to put the pressure on the hosts. Strikers Akashdeep Singh, Dilpreet and Mandeep had chances but could not convert as the Oman defence held on. More resolute defending from the home team in the closing few minutes of the first quarter meant that the Indians failed to score the opening goal even after forcing eight circle entries and taking four shots.
The second quarter was the turning point for the Indian team as they started with an aggressive approach, attacking in the opening minute from the left flank through debutant Hardik Singh, whose pass across goal was too quick to find his teammates. But it was in the 17th minute that India managed to break the deadlock as captain Manpreet stole the ball in the center of Oman's area and passed it on the right to forward
Upadhyay, who found himself in space inside the circle, and produced a fierce shot, beating Oman's Goalkeeper Fahad Al Noufali on his near post to give India a 1-0 lead. India seemed to have found a nice rhythm in the next few minutes as they kept penetrating Oman's circle, playing fast balls into the circle.
The world No. 5 team's efforts were rewarded again in the 22nd minute as they scored through their first penalty corner, with ace drag-flicker Harmanpreet beating the rushers and drilling the ball towards the left of Oman's goalkeeper to double India's lead.
India made the most of their dominant phase in the match as they scored their third goal in the following minute as Chinglensana's shot fell into Nilakanta's path, who stroked it into the back of the net to make it 3-0. India's fourth goal was scored by striker Mandeep, who was found inside the circle by fellow striker Akashdeep Singh, and the Indian No. 11 did not hesitate in putting the ball past Al Noufali from in-front of goal to stretch the lead further.
A lethal charge in attack in the third quarter saw India extend their lead to 5-0 as comeback man Gurjant deflected Surender Kumar's fiercely struck cross into the back of the net in the 37th minute. It was always going to be a tough match for the home team given their World No. 33 ranking as India continued to pile misery on their opponents.
A decision review in the 41st minute saw India earn their third penalty corner of the match. The resulting execution, struck by Harmanpreet, was padded into the path of India's Dilpreet by the Oman goalkeeper and the Indian forward's reflex reaction saw him score off a sublime finish to give India a six-goal advantage.
India's goal tally increased in the fourth quarter as Akashdeep and Varunwere rewarded on the back of some marvellous team-play as the duo struck a goal each in the 48th and the 49th minutes respectively to put India 8-0 ahead with a little over 10 minutes remaining on the clock.
Harmanpreet had a chance to score his second goal of the match through a penalty corner in the 52nd minute but his vicious strike struck the crossbar and resulted in Oman breaking on the counter, but to India's relief the final pass was overplayed.
India's vice-captain Chinglensana also registered his name on the score-sheet as he cleverly deflected Harmanpreet's next drag-flick into the back of the net and give India a nine-goal advantage.
Striker Dilpreet showcased calmness in front of goal as he struck twice in three minutes to complete his hat-trick of goals, scoring in the 55th and 57th minutes and wrapping up a convincing 11-0 victory for the Indian team.
Photograph: Hockey India