India thrash Kazakhstan in women’s Asia Cup hockey semis
Kakamigahara (Japan): India stormed into the women’s Asia Cup semi-final here on Thursday, thrashing Kazakhstan 7-1 in the quarters at the Kakamigahara Kawasaki Stadium.
Dragflicker Gurjit Kaur was in sublime form as she pumped three goals while Navneet Kaur scored twice and Deep Grace converted two penalty corners to ensure India remained unbeaten in the tournament.
After an early setback when Vera Domashneva scored a field goal in the second minute of the match to give Kazakhstan 1-0 lead, India made amends when a tactical manoeuvre in the circle won them a penalty corner in the fourth minute.
In-form dragflicker Gurjit Kaur hardly broke a sweat to fiercely strike the ball past Kazakhstan goalkeeper Guzal Bakhavaddin to equalize.
India were off to a steady start, patiently negotiating their way into the 25-yard mark not making hasty forays but waiting for the right opportunity.
The Ritu Rani-led forward line was smart in their attacks. The Indians won penalty corners to put their opponents under pressure.
The plan worked as a penalty corner won in the 16th minute was brilliantly converted through Deep Grace’s well-struck dragflick to give India a 2-1 lead.
The following minutes saw Navneet Kaur score back-to-back field goals in the 22nd and 27th minutes to take India’s lead to a comfortable 4-1 at the end of second quarter.
The 10-minute halftime break saw the team come back stronger on the pitch. They began the third quarter by winning a penalty corner but this time it was well saved by the Kazakhstan goalkeeper.
However, another penalty corner awarded in the 41st minute was beautifully converted by Deep Grace (5-1). Gurjit was splendid in her dragflick to convert her second goal through a penalty corner in the next minute to ensure India were on the right path to win.
The 22-year-old Gurjit struck yet through another penalty corner in the 56th minute to register her hat-trick and help India triumph 7-1.