Hockey Perspectives

Maddie Hinch Drives Indian Hockey Eves to Frustration, Set Up England’s 3-1 Win

Maddie Hinch has always been a tough nut to crack – the Indian hockey eves experienced it very recently at the 2022 World Cup, and at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, Hinch drove considerable frustration in the Indian ranks by churning out close to a dozen saves – her splendid goalkeeping was a big factor in England pulling off what in the end looked like a very convincing scoreline (3-1) and hardly reflected the fight Indian eves dished out for the most part of the match.

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Hardly had the Indian women settled into their strides, Giselle Ansley found a way to breach the determined defences of Savita to give England an early advantage. Indian women took control of the proceedings from thereon and mounted raids one after another only to be driven to despair by Hinch. The Indians literally parked themselves in England ‘D’ in the first half and even had more shots at goal and possession than England but not quite enough to translate into an outcome in their favour.

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At half-time, it did seem that it is only a matter of time before the Indian persistence would pay off but England had other plans – they crowded their defence and despite looking shaky at times, were able to absorb the Indian pressure. A daft defensive howler from Udita saw Sophie Hamilton come up with a smart steal and fed Tessa Howard, who dived in front of Savita for a tap-in. Hannah Martin rubbed salt into Indian wounds when Hannah Martin deflected an Anna Toman drag-flick and it seemed all over bar the shouting for India. Vandana Katariya’s nifty deflection goal off a Gurjit Kaur short corner was of little solace in a game where Indian eves rue their flurry of missed chances.

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India would now have to beat Canada in their concluding pool game to seal their semifinal berth – Canada enjoy a better goal average over India and even a draw would see them make the cut. For India, it is time to summon desperate measures and pull off a win or else it would be another disappointment after the World Cup flop show.