CWG 2018

CWG 2018 Hockey: Fighting India go down 1-0 against Australia in semi-final

Grace Stewart scored the only goal of the match in the 37th minute.

Indian women fought hard and came close to becoming the first team to score against Australia but eventually fell short and lost 1-0 in the semi-final of the 2018 Commonwealth Games on Thursday.

They will now face England in a bronze medal play-off on Saturday.

Grace Stewart scored the only goal of the match in the 37th minute and though India pushed for an equaliser through out the fourth quarter the Australians successfully saw off the period to set up a summit clash against neighbours New Zealand.

(Read more: Follow all the updates on an action-packed day seven for India here.)

The 2002 Manchester Games gold medallists were aware of the enormity of their task when they took on Australia, who had not conceded a goal in the group stages. And knowing that it would be difficult to match the home team for the 60-minute duration with an aggressive approach, the Indians opted to defend.

They started brilliantly and put the Australians under pressure in the first five minutes. Skipper Rani Rampal had a golden opportunity to put the team ahead after being fed by Vandana Kataria in the second minute but her shot was too weak to trouble the Australian goalkeeper.

It was the Australians who dominated the entire half there after in terms of possession and circle penetration and even earned two penalty corners in the first two quarters.

But Indian custodian Savita was alert to any threat to her goal and credit has to be given to the Deepika and Deep Grace Ekka for thwarting a number of Australian moves before they managed to enter the striking circle.

Savita was once again the saviour two minutes into the second quarter when she dived to her right to stop Jane Claxton’s reverse hit from the top of the circle.

Australia continued to farm possession and most of the game was played in the Indian half. But the home team could not create any clear chance to score thanks to the Indians defending in numbers and making timely tackles.

Lucky break

The goal finally came in the 37th minute when Grace Stewart tapped in a volley after Savannah Fitzpatrick’s reverse hit from just inside the 25-yard-line found her inside the striking circle.

India, who had just one shot on goal in the first three quarters, finally began to push forward in the final quarter and earned three penalty corners in quick succession in the first four minutes but Gurjit Kaur could not beat the Australian runner.

India’s two best chances to find an equaliser came in the last three minutes of play but neither Navneet Kaur not Rani Rampal could convert.

Navneet tried to first control a cross from Monika but by the time she could get her stick down for a shot, Australian custodian Rachael Lynch had padded the ball away.

Rampal then did everything right to control a long pass from Vandana Kataria inside the Australian striking circle and beat the marker with a quick turn but her shot was slightly wide.

Nevertheless, it was a creditable performance from the Indian team that had lost to the Australians 6-1 in the Rio Olympics and the performance should give them enough confidence for the play-off against England, who they had beaten 2-1 in the group stage.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Do you really need to use that plastic straw?

The hazards of single-use plastic items, and what to use instead.

In June 2018, a distressed whale in Thailand made headlines around the world. After an autopsy it’s cause of death was determined to be more than 80 plastic bags it had ingested. The pictures caused great concern and brought into focus the urgency of the fight against single-use plastic. This term refers to use-and-throw plastic products that are designed for one-time use, such as takeaway spoons and forks, polythene bags styrofoam cups etc. In its report on single-use plastics, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has described how single-use plastics have a far-reaching impact in the environment.

Dense quantity of plastic litter means sights such as the distressed whale in Thailand aren’t uncommon. Plastic products have been found in the airways and stomachs of hundreds of marine and land species. Plastic bags, especially, confuse turtles who mistake them for jellyfish - their food. They can even exacerbate health crises, such as a malarial outbreak, by clogging sewers and creating ideal conditions for vector-borne diseases to thrive. In 1988, poor drainage made worse by plastic clogging contributed to the devastating Bangladesh floods in which two-thirds of the country was submerged.

Plastic litter can, moreover, cause physiological harm. Burning plastic waste for cooking fuel and in open air pits releases harmful gases in the air, contributing to poor air quality especially in poorer countries where these practices are common. But plastic needn’t even be burned to cause physiological harm. The toxic chemical additives in the manufacturing process of plastics remain in animal tissue, which is then consumed by humans. These highly toxic and carcinogenic substances (benzene, styrene etc.) can cause damage to nervous systems, lungs and reproductive organs.

The European Commission recently released a list of top 10 single-use plastic items that it plans to ban in the near future. These items are ubiquitous as trash across the world’s beaches, even the pristine, seemingly untouched ones. Some of them, such as styrofoam cups, take up to a 1,000 years to photodegrade (the breakdown of substances by exposure to UV and infrared rays from sunlight), disintegrating into microplastics, another health hazard.

More than 60 countries have introduced levies and bans to discourage the use of single-use plastics. Morocco and Rwanda have emerged as inspiring success stories of such policies. Rwanda, in fact, is now among the cleanest countries on Earth. In India, Maharashtra became the 18th state to effect a ban on disposable plastic items in March 2018. Now India plans to replicate the decision on a national level, aiming to eliminate single-use plastics entirely by 2022. While government efforts are important to encourage industries to redesign their production methods, individuals too can take steps to minimise their consumption, and littering, of single-use plastics. Most of these actions are low on effort, but can cause a significant reduction in plastic waste in the environment, if the return of Olive Ridley turtles to a Mumbai beach are anything to go by.

To know more about the single-use plastics problem, visit Planet or Plastic portal, National Geographic’s multi-year effort to raise awareness about the global plastic trash crisis. From microplastics in cosmetics to haunting art on plastic pollution, Planet or Plastic is a comprehensive resource on the problem. You can take the pledge to reduce your use of single-use plastics, here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of National Geographic, and not by the Scroll editorial team.