New Delhi: The Indian women`s hockey team went down fighting 1-2 to New Zealand in their opening match of the Four-Nation Tournament in Auckland on Thursday.
New Zealand struck through Anita Punt (3rd minute) and Katie Glynn (24th minute) while Anuradha Devi Thokchom found the target for India in the 40th minute at the Harbour Hockey Stadium.
In windy and cold conditions, New Zealand made the perfect start with striker Anita Punt scoring the opening goal after a scramble inside the striking circle in the third minute. India made a number of penetrating runs through Rani, Vandana Katariya and Ritu Rani but failed to get past the Kiwi defenders. India earned four penalty corners in the first half but failed to convert even one.
The Kiwis increased their lead in the 24th minute with the powerful Katie Glynn smashing the ball high into the goal past Indian goalkeeper Yogita Bali. Glynn had earlier executed an impressive drag-flick attempt from a penalty corner which was saved by Bali. After the breather, India attacked rigorously and were rewarded when Poonam Rani setup Anuradha Devi Thokchom who found the target in the 40th minute.
India kept pushing for the equaliser but New Zealand goalkeeper Bianca Russell saved the day for the home team with some brilliant efforts at the goal. India now play United States in their second match on Friday.