Wrapping it up

Consistency, India lacked in this tournament. More than once, because of their defensive lapses, they let the opposition take the lead and was under pressure. They were in a similar, or rather, worse situation against England. But they fought superbly to turn the tables on them. But you can’t always score two or three goals in the last 10 minutes. And, New Zealand defence was superb today. They never lost composure in the last few minutes where India were attacking with desperation (they even sent off their ‘keeper, Sreejesh, so they could have an extra attacking option). But the Gold Coast campaign is not over yet for Marijne’s men. They do have a crack at the bronze medal. They’ll try their best not to return empty handed after all the expectations of a gold medal pre-tournament.

Goals 29' (P) 55' (PC) Harmanpreet Singh
7' Hugo Inglis
13' Stephen Jenness
39' Marcus Child (PC)
Penalty corners 1/9 1/4
Field goals 0/8 2/3
Cards 2 (Yellow, Green) 2 (Yellow, Green)

4:38 pm India 2-3 New Zealand: New Zealand will look to better their performance in the 1992 Games (Manchester), in which they won the silver medal, finishing second to Australia. They will find out after the second semi-final (between Australia and England) whom they will fight for gold on Saturday. India will be disappointed though with their performance. For the most part, they were far away from their best. Rupinder’s injury was a drawback. And they were unfortunate on occasions too. But less opportunities created and poor penalty corner conversion once again.

4:35 pm India 2-3 New Zealand: IT’S OVER. India has lost the opportunity to fight for the gold medal. They fought desperately in the last 10 minutes to do what they did against England. But the Black Sticks were upto the fight. Credit to them for holding India off so well. Defended superbly under pressure. Great strategy by the Indians to send Sreejesh off and make Harmanpreet wear the yellow jersey. But it backfired when Akashdeep got a yellow card. They were down to 10 men.

But India’s got the bronze medal match though.

4:31 pm India 2-3 New Zealand (3 minutes left in Q3): GOAL! YES. Harmanpreet’s slots in a penalty corner to make it 2-3. He’s wearing the yellow jersey too. Sreejesh has walked off to give India the extra field player advantage. Risky move. But India has to take it. But Akashdeep has just received a yellow card. So, the advantage is nullified. Anxious last minutes.

4:27 pm India 1-3 New Zealand (5 minutes left in Q3): A miracle is needed now. They conjured it against England. But they are two goals down now. They have to produce something special. A defeat looks imminent now. Meanwhile, New Zealand looked like they’d close the contest with another goal. But Sreejesh saved it. India need to play their best hockey in these last five minutes.

4:20 pm India 1-3 New Zealand (10 minutes left in Q3): Crucial 10 minutes for India this. No serious chances in the last quarter so far. They have to create them. And soon. The gold medal opportunity is slipping away from them. A moment of magic needed from someone. WAIT. DILPREET STRIKES. OH NO. IT HITS THE BAR AND GOES AWAY FROM THE NET. The New Zealand goalie Richar Joyce smiles wryly.

End of third quarter, India 1-3 New Zealand: Hooters! Time’s running out for the men in blue. They miss another penalty corner. Five missed so far tonight. They capitalised on the PCs against England last game. But they haven’t been able to tonight. Finishing has been pretty ordinary too. India need to buck up and quickly now.

4:08 pm India 1-3 New Zealand (4 minutes left in Q3): GOAL! Chaos. Confusion. A brilliant save. Then, a superb goal. New Zealand got a penalty corner. The first hit was saved superbly by a diving PR Sreejesh. But the rebound (after a few deflections) reaches Marcus Child, who puts it away easily and extends New Zealand’s lead to two goals. Pressure back on India.

3:58 pm India 1-2 New Zealand (8 minutes left in Q3): Almost. India almost equalise. But Chinglensana’s hit isn’t well directed. Also, New Zealand skipper Arun Panchia’s back in the field after serving a five-minute suspension. There are now 11 Black Sticks again in the field.

3:55 pm India 1-2 New Zealand (10 minutes left in Q3): Good start by India this. Looking more aggressive. Got a penalty corner, but failed to convert it. But the ball’s now more in New Zealand’s circle than India’s.

 Former Indian skipper Viren Rasquinha observes from the studio that Harmanpreet’s last-minute penalty in the first half has given India a lifeline and it could change complexion of the game completely given how NZ were sitting pretty with a 2-0 lead.   

Half-time stats:-

Goals 29' Harmanpreet Singh 7' Hugo Inglis
13' Stephen Jenness
Penalty corners 0/2 0/2
Field goals 0/2 2/2
Cards 0 1 (Yellow)

End of first half, India 1-2 New Zealand: Well, well, well. We have a great second half coming up. India will breathe easy after Harmanpreet Singh’s penalty hit. But they are still trailing and aren’t playing their best hockey. And, Rupinder Pal Singh, one of their key midfielders is absent due to injury. Coach Sjoerd Marijne will need to quickly point out the areas where his team has gone wrong in the first half.

03:32 pm India 0-2 New Zealand (5 minutes left in Q2): New Zealand are constantly making forays into the Indian circle. India’s defenders seem a little unsettled today. The game’s not going as per India’s plan. They gotta regroup quickly, and play a better second half to keep their gold medal hopes alive.

03:26 pm India 0-2 New Zealand (10 minutes left in Q2): India’s still struggling to create opportunities. New Zealand have done a good job by not letting the Indian midfield feeding the ball to the forward SV Sunil.

End of first quarter, India 0-2 New Zealand: Not the start that India was looking for. And, the start that India would have wanted to avoid. They are known for comebacks. But two goals down in the first quarter means India’s under pressure. They seem to be missing the expertise of Rupinder Pal Singh in the midfield.

3:11 pm India 0-2 New Zealand (2 minutes left in Q1): And, New Zealand score another one! It’s Stephen Jenness this time, who slots it between the legs of PR Sreejesh, who’s not looked his usual best.

3:11 pm India 0-1 New Zealand: Stunner from New Zealand. Hugo Inglis taps in Black Sticks’ first goal. They have scored within the first 10 minutes of the start. There were a flurry of errors from the Indians. And, the New Zealanders have capitalised on it. Coach Sjoerd Marijne won’t be happy with this start.

3:10 pm India 0-0 New Zealand: Early Penalty Corner for India. Missed. Black Sticks keeper Richard Joyce has no problem parrying the ball away. But good start by India this. Looking aggressive.

New Zealand XI: Shea McAleese, Stephen Jenness, Hugo Inglis, Arun Panchia, Marcus Child, Kane Russell, Jared Panchia, Richard Joyce, Nic Woods, Hayden Phillips, Dane Lett.

02:45 pm

 “Against New Zealand, we don’t want to focus too much on what they bring to the table, but we want to focus on our own strengths and ensure we fight till the last whistle. Yes, we have played them recently and are aware of their game as much as they are aware of ours. But that was a different event, and this is a different event and I am sure they will also come into the match with a winning mindset. We just want to stick to our game and ensure there are no unforced errors.”

-Manpreet Singh, Indian captain.

02:35 pm Here’s how India’s performance in the tournament so far:-

2:25 pm: Here’s how the teams stand after the group stages:-

2:15 pm: Hallo, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the live blog of the Commonwealth Games hockey men’s semi-final between India and New Zealand. Clutch game. I mean, all semi-finals, are clutch games, I guess. Also, India’s coming off an unbelievable victory (not exaggerating at all). Read this if you don’t believe me. Manpreet Singh and his men are yet to be defeated in the tournament. And, they had beaten the Black Caps in their backyard a few months ago. But New Zealand have had some big wins in Gold Coast. So, they won’t take them lightly. Promises to be an interesting game. So, stay tuned.