May 10, 2011

Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2011: India vs Pakistan preview

One event that surpasses every superlatives in sports is India-Pakistan encounter. Today Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2011 will witness the biggest and most anticipated hockey match of the year. Today India is going to face face its arch rivals Pakistan in Sultan Azlan Shah Cup round robin match.

India vs Pakistan in Sultan Azlan Shah today
Indian team has done well in the tournament, team has lost one game against Korea but have come back strongly, drawn against world champions Australia and beaten Great Britain and Malaysia . On the other hand after a good start in the tournament Pakistan team seems to have lost the confidence. Pakistan team has played four games and have won two against Korea and New Zealand while they have lost to Australia and Great Britain.

India-Pakistan hockey matches are always pressure games and the team which stays calm and composed will go on to win the match. Pakistan team will be under pressure to perform against due to last year's record where they lost all the matches played between both the teams.

Indian team has really improved after their defeat against Korea and emergence of Rupinder Pal Singh both as a defender and penalty corner expert is a great news for the team because Indian team always had a shaky defense. Indian forwards have also joined the party when the Indian forward line scored 4 goals against Malaysia.

As usual, the midfield led by captain Arjun Halappa will have to bear the burden of moving the ball from the defense to the forwards. Indian team had a good first half against Malaysian team due to Arjun's presence in the middle of the pitch rather than the flanks. In second half, Arjun was shifted to the flanks and Indian midfield looked vulnerable due to his absence in the middle.

On the other hand we have experienced Pakistan side who started the tournament brilliantly but then lost two games successively against Australia and Great Britain. One of the major problems of the team is the conversion rate to world's top scorer Sohail Abbas. In this tournament Sohail Abbas has only scored two goals. His low conversion rate is problem for Pakistan team which is also leaking goals.

Looking at the current form of both the teams, it is advantage India and also the fact that Indian outplayed Pakistan in every match last year will also be favorable to the Indian team.

In reality, it is rarely seen that the results of Indian-Pakistan matches go according to the current form or past record (though last few matches have proved it wrong). This match is going to be high on energy and emotional. So ladies and gentlemen be ready to witness the biggest hockey game this year when Indian team face Asian Games winner Pakistan in a match where winner takes all. I cannot say much about the result, but its going to be an absolute cracker.

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( The above images have been taken from google images, I do not own them)

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