London: It was field hockey of the highest order. Pakistan started promisingly, India responded emphatically, and in the end proved too superior for the arch-rivals, crushing them 7-1 in the Hockey Word League (HWL) pool game. This is the biggest margin of victory for India against the arch-rivals and also confirmed their entry into the quarterfinals.

Billed as the game of the tournament, it started that way. But after India found their footing, and Pakistan lost theirs completely, there was only one result possible. However, to lose with a 7-1 margin – after being crushed 6-0 by Canada – is a new low for Pakistan hockey. They will need to dig deep before they miss a second World Cup in a row.

This is Pakistan’s worst defeat against India. They lost 4-7 in the past on two occasions – 2003 Champions Trophy and 2010 Commonwealth Games.

But India didn’t forget to remind the opponents of their unhappiness over situation at LOC. The Indian team took the field wearing black armbands to condole the deaths of Indian soldiers martyred in recent attacks from the other side of the border.

To start the goal-fest, Harmanpreet Singh made amends for missing India’s opening penalty corner in the third minute and scored the first of his two PC goals in the 13th minute – a grounder beating Pakistan goalkeeper Amjad Ali, who had a forgettable day before being replaced in the final quarter.

However, it was Pakistan who had the first shot at the goal, but Ali Shan sent his third-minute flick wide before Muhammad Bilal missed the first of their five penalty corners that remained futile.

The Indians added two more goals before half-time as Talwinder struck in the 21st minute off an assist from Ramandeep. He then added another to his name in the 24th minute, to which Pakistan objected with a video referral, which was turned down.

India shifted gears swiftly in the second half – adding a goal in the third quarter and three more in the last 15 minutes.

Harmanpreet’s second goal came in the 33rd minute, when his aerial flick beat the goalkeeper to his left.

Akashdeep was the third Indian player to score two goals in the match in the 47th and 59th minute. His first came from a cut-throat pass from Sardar Singh, who made his presence felt by controlling the midfield.

In between, Pardeep Mor got himself on the scoresheet in the 49th minute when he was left unmarked on the top of the Pakistan striking circle and slammed the ball in.

Pakistan’s consolation goal was scored by Umar Bhutta, but it was just three minutes before the death knell sounded in the form of full-time hooter.

If things remain as they stand right now, India are expected to play either South Korea or Malaysia in the quarterfinals.