The Asian Champions Trophy Hockey Tournament organized by the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) will be India’s first international assignment after the highs of winning an Olympic bronze medal – their first in 41 years. The tourney, which will be played at the Maulana Bhasani Hockey Stadium in Dhaka, Bangladesh from October 1-9, will feature hosts Bangladesh, Pakistan, South Korea, Malaysia, Japan besides India.
Let us take a close look at India’s journey in the Asian Champions Trophy so far.
2011 Asian Champions Trophy – Ordos, China
India won the inaugural Asian Champions Trophy held at Ordos, China in 2011, pipping arch-rivals Pakistan 4-2 in a pulsating shootout after both teams were tied goalless in regulation time. Indian goalkeeper PR Sreejesh did the star turn, pulling off two valiant saves denying Abdul Haseem Khan and Shafqat Rasool from scoring, as the quarter of Rajpal Singh, Sarvanjit Singh, Danish Mujtaba, and Yuvraj Walmiki converted to corner glory for the Blueshirts. India did not quite have it easy in the league – it was held to draws by Japan, Pakistan, and Malaysia – the team notched up two wins – 5-0 and 5-3 against China and South Korea respectively.
2012 Asian Champions Trophy – Doha, Qatar
Pakistan exacted sweet revenge for their defeat to India in the final of the 2011 edition as they put it across arch-rivals 5-4 in a humdinger of a summit clash in the 2012 edition held at Doha, Qatar. India rode on goals from SV Sunil and Vokkaliga Raghunath to take a 2-1 lead midway through the first half after they trailed by an early Muhammed Waqas goal, but Pakistan came back strongly in the second half with two goals from Shafqat Rasool and Rashid Mehmood to make the scoreline 3-2. The Pakistani joy was short-lived as Gurwinder Singh Chandi made it 3-3 but Pakistan regained the lead a minute later via Muhammed Waqas. Rupinder Pal Singh levelled the issue (4-4) with 11 minutes remaining. Muhammad Ateeq ensured Pakistan had the last laugh with 6 minutes remaining for the final hooter and there were no last-minute hiccups for the Greenshirts as they went on to win the final in a contest that could have gone either way. India had beaten Pakistan 2-1 in the league phase, wherein they also defeated Oman 11-0, China 4-0 and Japan 3-1 – their only loss came against Malaysia when they went down 3-5.
2013 Asian Champions Trophy – Kakamigahara, Japan
India put up a truly forgettable performance at the 2013 edition held at Kakamigahara, Japan, where they failed to attain a podium finish. India huffed and puffed to a 3-0 win over lowly Oman and got the better of Malaysia 4-3 in the league stage – it lost to China (0-2), Japan (1-2) and Pakistan (4-5). India had the ignominy of having to play the 5-6th place play-off tie against Oman which they won 6-0 to avoid the wooden spoon even as Pakistan beat Japan 3-1 to win the 2013 Asian Champions Trophy.
2016 Asian Champions Trophy – Kuantan, Malaysia
India exorcised the ghosts of the 2013 Asian Champions Trophy by winning the 2016 Asian Champions Trophy held at Kuantan, Malaysia edging out Pakistan 3-2 in the final. Rupinder Pal Singh and Affan Yousuf put India 2-0 up in the first twenty-three minutes of play before Muhammad Bilal and Ali Shan brought back Pakistan into the match with strikes in the 2nd and 3rd quarters. It was left to Nikkin Thimmaiah to fire home the match-clincher. Across the league phase, India sounded goal-hungry and thumped the likes of Japan 10-2 and China 9-0 – Rupinder Pal Singh blazed away with a double hat-trick in a 10-2 win over Japan. India drew South Korea 1-1 and beat Pakistan and Malaysia 3-2 and 2-1 respectively – in the semifinals, the Blushirts nosed out South Korea 5-4 in a shootout after both teams were locked 2-2 in normal time.
2018 Asian Champions Trophy – Muscat, Oman
India and Pakistan were declared Joint Winners of the 2018 Asian Champions Trophy held at Muscat, Oman as the final was nixed owing to heavy rain. India was in sizzling form in the league phase – it had drubbed Oman 11-0, swamped Japan 9-0, humbled South Korea 4-1, edged out Pakistan 3-1 and settled for a goalless draw against Malaysia. 3 Indians slammed hat-tricks in the league stage – Dilpreet Singh (vs Oman), Mandeep Singh (vs Japan) and Harmanpreet Singh (vs South Korea) – India had pipped Japan 3-2 to reach the final.
Asian Champions Trophy Stats File
Total Number of Goals Scored:
Totals Matches Played: 92
Total Goals Scored: 470
Highest Winning Margin: India beat Oman 11-0 in 2012 & 2018 editions
Most Goals Scorer:
Faizal Saari 24 goals
Rupinder Pal Singh 18 goals
Muhammad Waqas 13 goals
Abdul Haseem Kham 11 goals
Akashdeep Singh 9
VR Raghunath 9
Muhammad Imran 8
Razie Rahim 8
Kenta Tanaka 7
2012 Sohail Abbas (3) vs Oman (Won 8-3)
2013 Muhammad Imran (3) vs Oman (Won 8-0)
2013 Akashdeep Singh (3) vs Oman (Won 6-1)
2016 Rupinder Pal Singh (6) vs Japan (Won 10-2)
2018 Aleem Bilal (3) vs Oman (Won 8-0)
2018 Dilpreet Singh (3) vs Oman (Won 11-0)
2018 Mandeep Singh (3) vs Japan (Won 9-0)
2018 Harmanpreet Singh (3) vs South Korea (Won 4-1)
Team Conceding Most Goals: 117 Goals (Oman)