The Indian hockey women’s team put up yet another brave performance to hold China to a 1-1 draw in their second Pool B match at the FIH Women’s Hockey World Cup.

Jiali Zheng opened the scoring at the Wagener Stadium in Amsterdam in the 26th minute at the end of an excellent pass. But that goal was cancelled out by Vandana Katariya in the 45th minute.

In their first match on Sunday, India had held England to a 1-1 draw where it was Vandana who had scored for the team while China too had drawn 2-2 against New Zealand. It was a tense start to the match with the Chinese dominating the ball possession and structured their attack in the initial minutes of the game but once India shook off their nerves, they made some lethal circle penetrations that could have earned them an early lead.

One such opportunity came in the 6th minute when Sharmila Devi and Navneet Kaur worked in tandem to take a shot on goal. But Navneet’s strike was blocked by a strong Chinese defence. After ending the first quarter in a stalemate, India penetrated the Chinese defence on a number of occasions in the second quarter. In the 23rd minute, a PC awarded to India was contested and the referral went in favour of China.

It was a shot taken by Vandana from top of the D which bounced off Jyoti’s body into the goal, after she missed getting a deflection thus resulting in the referral going against India. But only seconds later, India found the foot of Chinese defender winning their first PC of the match. But this chance went amiss too as Gurjit Kaur’s powerful dragflick was blocked by the Chinese goalie Liu Ping.

China, however, did not falter when their attackers created a sublime variation that resulted in a goal. It was Jiali Zheng who put the ball past India’s experienced goalkeeper Savita in the 26th minute. Meanwhile, India continued to work some impressive formations in their attack, earning the team another PC in the 27th minute but Monika who took the shot couldn’t make much of the chance, thus ending the second quarter with China leading 1-0.

Both teams displayed attacking hockey coupled with speed and patience in their efforts. The third quarter saw China fetching their first PC of the match but couldn’t make much of it with Gu Bingfeng’s drag going wide. India, who won a couple of PCs in this quarter remained calm in their pursuit for a goal. Their wait finally ended in the 45th minute when the team converted from their 5th PC of the match.

It was the experienced striker Vandana, who once again was the focalpoint of India’s PC attack. She picked up a brilliant deflection off Gurjit’s fiercely-struck dragflick sending the ball flying past the Chinese goalie. With an even score on the board, this match too, like the previous one India battled against England, went down to the wire. India showed more urgency to convert a goal in the final quarter and they also defended well to keep the pressure on their opponents.

They even warded off danger in the 56th minute when they conceded a PC, but they did well with the line defence to clear the ball. Both teams contested for the ball in the dying minutes of the game.

But with seconds ticking away, neither could successfully score despite China calling for a video referral asking for a PC on the hooter - but the decision fell India’s way, ending the match in a draw.

Other matches

There was finally a win in Pool B as New Zealand came from behind to upset England 3-1 to go on top of the group.

Lily Owsley, playing her 100th cap for England, scored in the fourth minute at the end of a penalty corner routine. England continued to dominate till Katie Doar scored in the 29th minute.

Doar scored her second to put New Zealand in the lead, and nine minutes before time, Tarryn Davey scored the third to make England rue their missed chances - they scored just one of the 14 penalty corners they earned.

In the opening match of the day, Chile won a war of attrition with Ireland to record their first ever World Cup win. In the third match, between Japan and South Africa was thrilling as the African team, led by Onathatile Zulu, completed a great escape after going three-nil down in the first half to finish 3-3.

And in the final match of the day Australia stunned Belgium with two quick goals that took the Red Panthers by surprise in a 2-0 win.

July 5 Results

Match #12
Ireland 0, Chile 1
Player of the Match: Manuela Urroz (CHI)

Match #13
India 1, China 1
Player of the Match: Katariya Vandana (IND)

Match #14
Japan 3, South Africa 3
Player of the Match: Onthatile Zulu (RSA)

Match #15
England 1, New Zealand 3
Player of the Match: Katie Doar (NZL)

Match #16
Belgium 0, Australia 2
Player of the Match: Stephanie Kershaw (AUS)

India will take on New Zealand in their third pool B match at on July 7, 23:00 hrs IST. The matche will be live on Star Sports First, Star Sports 3 and streamed on Disney+ Hotstar.