It was India’s firepower that saw them through in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2016, beating Pakistan 5-1. The side won a bronze medal last year and are in a much better position to improve on it this year. It was an early blitz that gave India the lead. There was some terrific hockey from star man Manpreet Singh, who waltzed past the Pakistan defense and put the ball into the net. The finish was ordinary but a timid save from Imran Butt didn’t help matters for Pakistan. India vs Pakistan – As it happened
One can never count Pakistan out from penalty corners and a well worked move ensured that the men in green equalised three minutes later, skipper Muhammad Irfan’s thunderous strike left India no chance to get a touch on the ball. It was SV Sunil who guided India home from there, and the Indians got back their lead minutes later. Manpreet made an excellent pass to find out Sunil, who calmly slotted the ball into the net. The momentum was India but the game slowed down post India taking the lead. But the intensity of an India-Pakistan contest never dipped even slightly though, tackles were made, balls were won but there was little on offer in terms of chances.
Pakistan tried to fight back aggressively in the third quarter but had little success with India thwarting a lot of their attacks. Nikkin Thimmaiah made a glorious run but couldn’t convert. Shortly after that, Ramandeep Singh was handed a yellow card and Pakistan sensed a way back in the contest. India survived the half.
The fourth quarter started and the wheels began to come off for the Pakistan side, whose defense where in tatters. Sunil got his second and India had some breathing space. A neat pass from the flanks was converted by a diving effort from Sunil. Pakistan looked tired and had virtually given up. Talwinder Singh and Rupinder Pal Singh added a couple in the final stages to add gloss on the scoreline. Pakistan had given up after the third quarter and it cost them dear in the final stages. It was quite an even battle for the first three quarters.