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India beat SA in last World Cup hockey warm-up

May 29, 2014 18:00 IST

India beat SA in last World Cup hockey warm-up



India defeated South Africa 4-1 in their final practice game to round off their warm-up campaign ahead of the hockey World Cup on a positive note in The Hague, Netherlands, on Thursday.

The team had earlier lost the first practice game 1-2 to Argentina.

Hit hard by injuries to two key strikers – Ramandeep Singh and Nikkin Thimmaiah, the Indians took on South Africa with a sense of purpose.

Three of India’s goals came from penalty-corners, by Rupinderpal Singh (2) and V R Raghunath, while captain Sardar Singh also contributed to the scoreline with a field goal.

India dominated proceedings for most part of the match and took the lead in the closing stages of the first half through a penalty-corner conversion by Rupinder.

He registered his name on the score-sheet again when he successfully converted another penalty-corner in the second half to double India's lead.

The South Africans pulled one back from a set-piece but the Indian defence stood tall thereafter to thwart any danger to their citadel.

Skipper Sardar made the scoreline 3-1 with a field strike before Raghunath completed formalities with a penalty-corner conversion.

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Image: Rupinderpal Singh (in blue) and Sardar Singh practice a penalty-corner drill


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Speaking on India's performance against South Africa, India's High Performance Director Roelant Oltmans, said: "The first half of the match turned out to be a little slower than expected, but the second half of the game saw a really good performance by the team, where defence also gave an excellent response.

"We are happy to see both Lalit Upadhyay and Yuvraj Walmiki (Ramandeep and Nikkin's replacements) living up to the expectations from their very first match. The team has been preparing for a long time now and it's time for the boys to deliver their best. I am confident that the boys will perform well in this tournament."

Sardar Singh too was satisfied with the outcome of the match.

"It was the second practice game and I am glad the team is showing good results. The good part is that we all understand the wavelength and carry on with the game with the same mindset," he said.

"This win against South Africa will further help in boosting the confidence of every player and especially Lalit Upadhyay and Yuvraj Walmiki as it was their first game. We are ready to take up more challenges and deliver even better results in the tournament," Sardar added.

India will open their World Cup campaign against Belgium in a tough Group A on Saturday.

Image: Rupinderpal Singh

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