After trouncing Pak, India sets sights on Oz

Last Updated: Monday, March 1, 2010 - 14:58

New Delhi: After a virtuoso performance in an
emotionally charged campaign-opener against arch-rivals
Pakistan, India will have to maintain the attacking form when
they take on Australia in their second Pool B match of the
hockey World Cup here tomorrow.

India produced one of the finest performances in long
time in front of a capacity crowd at the Major Dhyan Chand
Stadium to beat Pakistan 4-1 yesterday and now would want to
overcome Australia to brighten their chances for semifinals.

Pumped up by a cheering home crowd, everything clicked
for India against Pakistan with the midfield, defence and
upfront spot on.

The defence of Sandeep Singh, Diwakar Ram and Dhananjay
Mahdik were able to keep at check the dangerous strike duo of
Rehan Butt and Shakeel Abbasi throughout the match.

The upfront led by Prabhjot Singh, Shivendra Singh and
Rajpal Singh created havoc with their fast-paced interchanges,
but the difference was the midfield with an outstanding Sardar
Singh.

On the other hand, Australia would be an altogether
different side with their one-touched fast-paced hit and run
style of play and India will have to be extra vigilant as the
Kookaburras are now like a wounded tiger after their 2-3 loss
to England yesterday.

Having won 51 of their 72 World Cup matches, Australia
boast a winning percentage of 71 - higher than any other team.
They finished runners-up in the last two editions (2002 and
2006).

Rightly for India, coach Jose Brasa has advised his boys
to remain grounded on their feet and not being carried away by
the triumph against Pakistan.

For Ric Charlesworth`s side, it will be a must-win match
against India and any hiccup tomorrow would make it difficult
for Australia to qualify for the semifinals.

Charlesworth himself has acknowledged that it would be a
must-win match for them.

"It is a must-win situation now," he said.

The last match between the two teams was in Champions
Trophy in Chennai five years ago when Australia won it 4-1.

Australia have come into the tournament at the back of
the
ir Champions Trophy triumph at home last year and they have
been one of the title contenders though that tag has been
dented by their loss to England.

They are the second-ranked side in the world but Olympic
and World Cup records (just one gold medal each) do not match
with their formidable prowess.

Australia, however, are the favourites as far as history
goes with the Indians having won just one of the six matches
the two sides have played in World Cup since 1975.

The Australians committed mistakes in the defence and
also was poor in converting the penalties against England.
Specially, Australia need to improve penalty corner conversion
rate as they could score just once from the 12 they got
yesterday.

In the two other Pool B matches tomorrow, South Africa
take on England while Pakistan play Spain.

Teams (from):

India: Rajpal Singh (C), Adrian D`Souza, Sandeep Singh,
Arjun Halappa, Prabhjot Singh, Sardar Singh, Gurwinder Singh
Chandi, Deepak Thakur, Sarvanjit Singh, Gurbaj Singh, Tushar
Khandker, Sreejesh Raveendran, Shivendra Singh, Bharat
Chikara, Dhananjay Mahadik, Vikram Pillay, Danish Mujtaba,
Diwakar Ram.

Australia: Jamie Dwyer (C), Liam De Young, Simon Orchard,
Glenn Turner, Robert Hammond, Matthew Butturini, Mark Knowles,
Edward Ockenden, Luke Doerner, Grant Schubert, Matthew Swann,
Nathan Burgers, George Bazeley, Kieran Govers, Kiel Brown,
Graeme Beg bie, Fergus Kavanagh, Desmond Abbott.

PTI



First Published: Monday, March 1, 2010 - 14:58

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