The Indian junior women’s team started its campaign at the three-nation tournament on a positive note, beating New Zealand 2-0 in Canberra on Wednesday.
Striker Lalrindiki (15th minute) and midfielder Prabhleen Kaur (60th) were the two goal scorers for the winners. India started the match with an aggressive brand of hockey, pinning down New Zealand in their own half. New Zealand had defeated hosts Australia 3-1 in their first match on Tuesday.
India’s dominance in the opening quarter saw them win an early penalty corner in the third minute, but they failed to utilise the chance. A defensive lapse from New Zealand then handed India a golden opportunity at the stroke of the quarter break and Lalrindiki found herself with enough space in front of the goal to slot the ball home.
New Zealand had a chance to equalise early in the second quarter from a penalty corner, but Indian goalkeeper Bichu Devi Kharibam made a good save to keep her side ahead. The two teams battled for possession in the middle of the park but neither could create any clear chances, meaning India retained their one-goal advantage at the half-time break.
The third quarter was filled with some exciting chances for both sides. First, it was the Indian team who were awarded two penalty corners at the start of the period.
However, a shot off target and a brilliant save by New Zealand goalkeeper Kelly Carline meant that India could not extend their lead. New Zealand also won a penalty corner at the end of the third quarter, but India’s defensive line stood firm to maintain their lead going into the fourth and final quarter.
The final quarter witnessed a similar story as New Zealand desperately searched for the equaliser, while India were focused on extending their lead. Some close moments in the last 15 minutes saw India defend well against one more penalty corner in the 48th minute.
With 30 seconds remaining on the clock, India were awarded yet another penalty corner and this time Prabhleen made no mistake to slot the ball home to secure the win for her side. India will play hosts Australia in their second match on Thursday.