India edged past 2018 champions New Zealand in the shootout to claim the bronze medal in the women’s hockey event at the Commonwealth Games 2022. This was the first time since Melbourne 2006 that the Indians secured a spot on the podium - they had won silver then.
As both sides looked to grab a medal, it was a back and forth first quarter as the teams looked to assert themselves. Megan Hull was denied from a penalty corner, while India duo Sangita Kumari and Salima Tete also had opportunities.
India started the second quarter on top, forcing Black Sticks keeper Grace O’Hanlon into action on a couple of occasions. India eventually found the breakthrough on the stroke of half-time, the dangerous looking Tete slotting home to put her side 1-0 up.
The Indian team continued to press the Black Sticks in the third quarter. Neha and Lalremsiami both seeing efforts blocked. After India forced a penalty corner which was dealt with by New Zealand the Black Sticks began to carve out a few chances of their own. Alia Jaques, Olivia Merry and Rose Tynan all had a go but could not score the all-important equaliser.
The final quarter began with a barrage of Indian attacks, Navneet Kaur having a pop at goal which was followed by a number of penalty corners. The Black Sticks defensive repelled all that was thrown at them as they fought to keep themselves alive in the tie. With 3 minutes to go New Zealand removed keeper O’Hanlon to field 11 outfield players, but drew level when Merry tucked away a last gasp penalty stroke with just 18 seconds left of play to force the game into a shootout.
The ever-reliable Hull made no mistake with the first goal of the shoot-out, while Sangita’s effort was saved. Ralph then had two bites of the cherry after she was fouled in her original attempt, but had her re-take saved by India skipper Savita. Sonika just about restored parity, before Tynan missed. Navneet scored India’s next, while Doar was timed out.
With India up 2-1, Neha Goyal had a chance to finish off the match with India’s fourth shot but it went wide. Shannon then stepped up for the Kiwis but Savita pulled off another save to deny four out of five New Zealand attempts.
Savita said after the match, “I feel great. This match was very tough for us and both teams made a good effort. We knew it wouldn’t be easy, so before we came, we worked every minute and every second.
“I am so proud. We fought as a team.”
New Zealand’s Merry said, “It’s not our day. Unfortunately India came out to play and we didn’t in those first three quarters. We had a really good last quarter, but it was probably too late.
“I’m proud of the girls that stepped up for the shootout. It’s not an easy job to do, and to put your hand up after another shootout loss (in the semifinal) is incredibly special.
“We had some really good team performances, but probably in the last two games didn’t put on our best performance. It’s a pretty disappointing finish - fourth place is a tough pill to swallow.”