The flair of the Indian men’s hockey team have been a visual treat for all and sundry. The blazing hockey we have come to see from the Blueshirts in the 2022 Commonwealth Games (barring the final quarter of the England game) was at play against Wales as well. The only noticeable difference was that Wales crowded their defence and kept India at bay for the first quarter only. The barrage of raids from India made one understand that it was only a matter of time before the Welsh defence cracked. India appeared extra pumped up after Lewis Prosser’s ugly tackle on skipper Manpreet Singh inexplicably saw the umpire did show the temporary marching orders to the Canadian. India channelised their dismay in the best possible direction – attacking more and it paid off when Harmanpreet Singh struck twice in two minutes of shorties – on both occasions wrong-footing Wales goalkeeper Toby Reynolds-Cotterhill.
Canada brought their physicality into the game but was found wanting when it came to holding possession. The match literally went out of Wales’ grasp when Harmanpreet Singh capped off a hat-trick – his second of the tournament, profiting from a penalty stroke. Gurjant Singh escalated Wales’ woes by firing home the fourth goal in the final quarter. Wales did reduce the deficit via their prolific drag-flicker Gareth Furlong but it was of little consolation in a lost cause.
India have topped Pool B ahead of England on a better goal average and would now either face New Zealand or South Africa in the semifinal on Saturday. Both New Zealand and South Africa face off in their concluding Pool A tie. Australia would face England in the other semifinal.