Two matches, 12 goals, one conceded and seven different different scorers. The controversial decision to sack Roelant Oltamans is slowly but steadily fading away as India have flown off the blocks in emphatic fashion at the Asia Cup in Dhaka with their second dominant win, this time against hosts Bangladesh.

It’s early days but India’s speed while transitioning from defence to attack and their potency in front of goal has been a sight to behold. Another standout feature has been the manner in which they have used the flanks to good effect. Sterner tests await them against less generous opponents, no doubt. Meanwhile, Varun Kumar, Harmanpreet Singh and Sardar Singh have lent an assured presence to the Indian backline. Young Akashdeep Singh has been a live-wire in the circle.

In what may well be a crucial factor in the final stages, India will be glad to have divided goalscoring duties within the team.

While the scorelines from the first two matches suggest utter domination, there are a few areas that India can improve upon.

Here are three talking points from India’s 7-0 win.

SV Sunil’s finishing

India may have won by bigger margins had SV Sunil been more clinical. He spurned two glorious one-on-one chances against Japan, despite registering his name on the scoresheet during the game.

The 28-year-old could have added to his tally on Friday but once again, his touch deserted him as he missed the simplest of chances early in the first quarter. Sunil never recovered from the howler as he laboured to get on the end of chances. Rustiness may have played a part in the Karnataka half-back’s desire to add more goals to his tally so far after being rested for the European tour. As for Akashdeep, the break has helped the forward go from strength to strength.

With India creating chances by the minute, they found other goalscoring avenues but India will need Sunil’s experience in front of goal to come good against defences that will be hard to break down such as Malaysia.

Penalty corners

Image courtesy: Hockey India

There were signs of India having turned a corner against Japan in the opener. Harmanpreet Singh, who scored off two thumping drag-flicks, cut a cropper against Bangladesh. India had nine attempts before they netted one into the net, which again, came from catching their opponents off-guard with a pass-back.

The scoreline, though, tells a different story with Harmanpreet getting a pair of goals to go with the two he had bagged against Japan. But it’s worth remembering that the team’s penalty corner malaise cost them dearly during the final months of Oltmans’ regime. Thursday’s showing showed that Marijne’s side still have some way to go before they turn into a force from dead-ball situations. The silver-lining, however, was that the team’s change of strategy from corners in the final quarter was encouraging, resulting a goal each from Ramandeep Singh and Harmanpreet.

The underrated defence

It is true that the Japan exposed India on the counter-attack with pace, equalising through Kenji Kitazato. Having preempted a similar strategy from Bangladesh, Manpreet Singh and Co were smarter when they lost the ball here.

Sardar Singh, who had a quiet tournament opener, provided one of the best moments of the match, showing his experience in shielding the ball in the D, just when Bangladesh threatened to pull one back. Varun Kumar, goalscorer Amit Rohidas and Dipsan Tirkey also put up assured displays in front front of Akash Chikte’s goal. Harmanpreet’s passes from his own half resulted in kick-starting many a forward foray.

In the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup and the Hockey World League Semi-final, India’s soft centre was exposed. With a wealth of attacking options as their disposal, Marijne’s success will hinge on how successfully his men plug holes on the break as the attackers breathtakingly flood forward.