In the opening round of the four-match series on Monday, the Indian women’s hockey team dominated South Africa, winning 5-1.
Sangita Kumari (30′) and Rani (12′) scored goals for India, while Quanita Bobbs (44′) scored for South Africa. Other goal scorers for India included Monika (20′), Navneet Kaur (24′), Gurjit Kaur (25′), and Monika.
Vaishnavi Vitthal Phalke, the diligent midfielder who was chosen to start this match against South Africa, played on the field for the first time as a senior. For the young athlete who commanded the Indian women’s junior squad at the Uniphar U23 5-Nation Tournament in May, it was a historic event.
Early in the quarter, India immediately settled into their passing rhythm and forced South Africa back into their own half. Rani (12′), who skill-fully converted a penalty corner to make it 1-0 in favor of the Indian women’s hockey team, gave India the lead. Soon later, the opening period came to a close as India had a slim advantage going into the first break.
India dominated possession in the opening minutes of the second quarter and created opportunities at will. Once India’s blitz got underway with a goal by Monika (20′), they quickly added four more goals. After an outstanding team move, Navneet Kaur (24′) gently put the ball in the net to make it 3-0 in India’s favour.
South Africa’s defeat
The South African players were having trouble getting a foothold in the game until Gurjit Kaur (25′) expertly converted a penalty to increase the Indian women’s hockey team’s lead.
Sangita Kumari (30′) skillfully deflected the ball into the goal from a penalty corner just before the quarter came to a close to further increase the Indian women’s hockey team’s lead. With a commanding 5-0 advantage, India entered the intermission.
India kept up their persistent pressure on the opposition after the break and kept looking for additional goals. South Africa was gradually becoming more involved in the game in the third quarter despite continual pressure from India because they were beginning to retain the ball better.
In the last round of play, India sought to widen its lead while South Africa sought a thrilling conclusion in an effort to salvage something from the contest. South Africa was trying to win the game, but India was keeping the ball with skill.
The game ended with a score of 5-1 in favour of the Indian women’s hockey team because neither team managed to score in the last frame.
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