After an impressive performance against Australia on Sunday, where they managed a 2-2 draw, the India on Tuesday put in a fighting effort to secure their place in the final of the Olympic test event as they played out a 0-0 draw against China at the Oi Hockey Stadium in Japan on Sunday.
The Indian team looked in good rhythm during the initial stages of the first quarter, and constantly built pressure on the Chinese defense.
The World No 10 side looked comfortable in possession, and rotated the ball well to threaten their opponents in the opening ten minutes.
India’s Penalty Corner expert, Gurjit Kaur, stepped up to take the set-piece, but could not find the back of the net as the Chinese goalkeeper Dongxiao Li deflected the ball away from danger. China looked to attack the Indians on the counter, but could not find an opening in the first quarter as the scores remained 0-0.
India started the second quarter also with great attacking flair, and won themselves their second Penalty Corner in the 17th minute. Gurjit Kaur tried to aim for the other side this time, but her try was again denied by Li.
The following minutes saw both the teams battle it out in midfield, with neither team giving much space and time to their opponents in the final third. Some impressive performances in defense for both the teams meant that it remained goalless at the half-time break.
China needed the victory to make sure that they progress to the final of the competition but the Indian defense was upto the task, and seemed determined to consolidate their position at the top of the points table.
The third quarter saw China coming close to taking the lead in the 41st minute through their first Penalty Corner, but Indian Goalkeeper Savita made a great save to deny her opponents, and the defense cleared the ball. It was a moment which could have turned the match around, but the 29-year-old Indian made sure that China could not take an important lead.
India also had a few chances to take the lead in the following minutes, but could not find the breakthrough as Chinese defended well.
The situation became quite tense for both the teams in the last few minutes of the match, but it was China who won back-to-back Penalty Corners with just two minutes remaining. However, the Indian defense managed to block the first attempt, and then, Savita saved the second PC to earn her team a much deserved draw, and with it, a place in the final.
With a tally of five points from their three matches, the India women topped the points table, and will now face hosts and world no 14 Japan in the final of the Olympic test event on Wednesday.