This piece was published in Sportskeeda
No team would ideally prefer permutations and combinations to come their aid in progressing to the knockout phase and the Indian women’s hockey team probably did not want to go through all that as they came out all guns blazing to trounce Malaysia 5-1 in a match where a draw was enough for them to reach the semifinals, while their opponents were in dire need of a win to make the last four stage.
The Ritu Rani-led side were in no mood to play for a draw at the Seonhak Hockey Stadium and meant business from the outset. Vastly talented striker Rani Rampal, who haven’t troubled the scorers in the first two games, opened the account for India as early as in the 4th minute and hardly had the Malaysians regrouped to mount a fightback, drag-flick expert Jaspreet Kaur drilled home a penalty corner to put her side in the comfort zone in the 9th minute.
With their tails up with a two-goal cushion in the first quarter, India further upped the ante as Namita Toppo enhanced the lead with a deft touch early in the second quarter (39th minute) before Rani Rampal scored her second for the day three minutes later (41st minute) as they continued to assert their dominance and led 4-0 at half-time.
Thus, India have finished second in Pool A behind defending champions China and will now play hosts Korea in the semifinals on Monday, while China face Japan in the other semifinal.