Monday, August 20, 2018

India 8-0 Indonesia: Talking points

Gurjit scored a hat-trick against Indonesia
Hat-trick by penalty corner expert Gurjit Kaur, two goals each by Vandana Kataria and Navneet Kaur helped India beat debutants Indonesia 8-0 in their first match of the Asian Games played at GBK Hockey Field in Jakarta. 

20-year-old Udita scored the first goal of the match in 9th minute of the play and Vandana doubled the lead with in the 14th minute of play. The game livened up in the second quarter of the game as Indian team went on
complete offensive to score 6 goals with Gurjit Kaur scoring two goals while Navneet and Vandana scoring one each to help India reach 6-0 lead at half-time.

Indonesia on the other hand were looking helpless and clueless as the entire game was being played in their half could not even muster a shot on goal in the entire match. Third quarter turned out to be most frustrating for Indian eves as they could not score a single goal despite winning 6 penalty corners while the fourth quarter of the game saw penalty corner expert Gurjit completing her hat-trick. While the score line suggest complete domination from Indian team, but it did not tell the full story of Indian team’s performance against Indonesia. The score line is good for a news headline but there are lot many underlying problems that the coach Marijne needs to resolve before they face giants of Asia.

Right from dismal penalty corner conversion and execution, to not testing the bench and absent midfield, India has lot to improve.
Match Statistics

Here are our talking points from India-Indonesia games:

Penalty corners, a missed opportunity: Match against Indonesia can be best termed as a practice game, India won 21 penalty corners in the game and but only scored off 3 of those 21. While 12 of those were taken by Gurjit Kaur, and 8 were just direct hits on the goal. India’s penalty corner conversion was dismal in Hockey World Cup and it is the same in Asian Games. Indonesia was the easiest match India will play in the Asian Games, and it was a good opportunity for India to score some goals from penalty corners, try variations in penalty corners and build a goal scoring weapon for future matches but the way India executed their penalty corner, it surely missed an opportunity.

Rani’s attitude needs a reality check: It is no doubt that Rani Rampal has been India’s best player in last 6-7 years and no other player (bar Savita) has come near her performance on the field. But off late it seems that the success has gone in to her head and it was quite evident in the game against Indonesia. In the game against Indonesia, Rani Rampal was at her selfish best, taking shots that were not going to guarantee a goal to taking penalty corner hits instead of focusing on variations. Rani Rampal is the captain of Indian team and she is the one who needs to set an example for the likes of Lalremsiami, Udita and Navneet but her performance yesterday was of one player who just wants to play for herself. 

Indonesia shows promise: It was the first time Indonesia played in the Asian Games and considering the fact that they are not even in top 50 ranked teams of the World (ranked 54), Indonesia did well against India. With India attacking persistently, Indonesia defense did enough to concede just 8 goals in the game. Their goalkeeper Sarah Amaniah won most of the battles when it came to penalty corners, but the team were overall let down by the inexperience in international hockey. Asian Games is a good opportunity to get some match experience and then build on from there. 

India will next play Kazakhstan in their second match of Asian Games on 21st August and if coach Marijne is able to address these problems before they face big guns of Asia, India truly will be a medal contender.

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