Indian hockey eves’ tournament opener against Ghana was far from convincing notwithstanding their 5-0 triumph – it was crystal clear that the Janneke Schopman-coached side needed to really pull up their socks and the Indian women came up with a big effort to snuff out the challenge of Wales in a pretty impressive 3-1 win. The Indian women were all over the Welsh defence, swarming like stinging bees and it was only a matter of time before they translated their ball possession superiority into goals. Wales goalkeeper Thomas Roseanne made some daring saves that ensured the scoreline was even stevens in the opening quarter but the red brigade lost the plot when Indian eves struck twice in two minutes both off set-pieces.
Vandana Katariya – the country’s most capped women hockey player – and one who hasn’t received the desired recognition owing to the overwhelming presence of Rani Rampal in the side over the years, showed why she is a class act, anticipating her run during the Gurjit Kaur penalty corner to near-perfection, deflecting it past Thomas Roseanne. Gurjit Kaur doubled the lead firing home a shortie to put the Indian women in the box seat at half-time. With that goal, Gurjit has become India’s third highest goal-scorer in Commonwealth Games with 7 goals and is only behind Pritam Rani (9 Goals) and Rani Rampal (10 Goals).
Wales never looked like recovering the two-minute two-goal blitz and looked short of ideas in the third quarter as they struggled to retain possession. Just when it appeared that Indian was running away with the game, Xenna Hughes provided a Wales lifeline with four seconds remaining in the third quarter, whipping home a short corner with a drag-flick that went goalwards grazing the foot of Deep Grace Ekka.
The Indian forwardline operated like a well-oiled machine – the likes of Navneet Kaur and Vandana Katariya stepped up to the plate and they were ably supported by the likes of Jyoti, Monica Malik, Neha, and Salima Tete. Indian eves put the match beyond Wales in the final quarter when Vandana Katariya replicated what she did in the first goal, getting her stick off a Monica Malik PC hit. Wales was resigned to their fate and would now be left licking their wounds after back-to-back defeats against Canada and India. India can take a lot of confidence from this win and build themselves up for the games against England and Canada.