Sunday, December 2, 2012

India happy at Melbourne; beating England and New Zealand


Melbourne, the capital of Victoria is in news because of Sporting activity ~ don’t get carried away by the author and think of Australia – South Africa Cricket Test match.   The test is being played at Perth where the hosts after being bowled out for 163 in their first essay, have been set a massive 632 as target thanks to Hashim Amla’s 196 and de Viliers’ 169.  With two days remaining, an improbable draw, if Aussies can endure two gruelling days or the most likely result of a big SA victory is going to happen. 

Melbourne is the venue for the Men’s Hockey Champions Trophy, an annual event held by the International Hockey Federation (since 1978).  This tournament was founded by Pakistan's Air Marshal Nur Khan.  Australians have won the trophy twelve, the Germans nine, and the Dutch eight times. Pakistan is the only Asian champion, with three titles to its name. 

India is not exactly on high and are currently 11th in the FIH World Ranking. Before missing the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, India had played in every Olympics since the 1928 Games in Amsterdam.   In the present tourney at  Melbourne, Indians are alongside England, New Zealand and Germany in Pool A.  In Pool B – there are Australia, Nederlands, Pakistan and Belgium.

Down under,  England pulled off a stunning upset by hammering Olympic champions Germany 4-1.  Four-time defending champions Australia were held to a goalless draw by Olympic silver medallists Netherlands, while Pakistan scored twice in the second session to prevail 2-0 over Belgium.

Everything else  is irrelevant ~ when India is shining !  -  the first major upset of the tourney was Indians handing a 3-1 defeat to fancied England.   India won over some fans in Melbourne after scoring a pair of acrobatic, highlight reel goals in the victory. Danish Mujtaba  scored the equalizer with 13 minutes left in the first half;  Yuvraj Walmiki scored what  has been  described as a jaw-dropping goal and Captain Sadar Singh sealed the win with four minutes left in regulation when his penalty corner shot bobbled its way into the net for the critical 3-1 goal.

That was not all as this afternoon around 0230 Team India scripted another magnificent win over New Zealand, the better side ranked 6.  It was 4-2.   The play started with an Indian own goal; Akashdeep Singh,  Gurwinder Singh Chani, VR Raghunath and Danish Mujtaba all netted for India. 

India is now the only squad in the eight-team Champions Trophy field that has two wins in its first two games, making Tuesday’s preliminary round finale an exciting day of hockey action with everything possible for quarterfinal placement.

Really happy moment for the win-parched Indian Team which had the worst possible performance in London Olympics by touching an all time low by finishing at the bottom of the competition.

Will it be ‘Happy Days for India again’ is the wish of all Indian fans.  Kudos to Captain Sardara Singh, from Haryana who also played for Hyderabad Sultans and Chandigarh Dynamos in the Premier Hockey League (PHL) in India. The Arjuna Awardee usually plays as centre-half.

with regards – S. Sampathkumar  
2nd Dec 2012 @ 14.25 hrs.  Photos and News courtesh : http://www.fih.ch

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