India finished second in Pool D following their 4-2 win over Wales in their final Group D fixture. Even though the win wasn’t enough to help India secure a place in the quarterfinals directly, the Men in Blue have sealed a place in the crossover stage where it will be up against New Zealand on January 22 in Bhubaneshwar.
The winner of this match will proceed to the Round of 8 while the team that loses this match will be eliminated which makes it a winners take-all contest. Ahead of their crucial game though, India have quite a few issues to deal with.
For instance, their forward line hasn’t been in the best of form in the tournament and has missed some crucial chances in the competition. Moreover, world-class drag flicker and India’s captain Harmanpreet Singh hasn’t been among the best of form either because of which the hosts haven’t been able to make the best use of their penalty corners. To make matters worse for them, playmaker Hardik Singh too has been ruled out of the entire tournament owing to an injury.
However, despite all the abovementioned concerns, India will start as the favourites in this game against the Black Sticks.
It won’t be a mere pushover though for Team India as they will have memories of the same opposition shattering their hopes in the 2018 Commonwealth Games semifinal. The other instance of India losing to the current World Number 12 team in the last five years was at the Olympic test event in 2019.
Simon Child will be the key player in the New Zealand squad, a veteran who will want to bring all his experience into play. However, India would also have wanted to deal with the threat posed by Sam Lane who had scored for the Black Sticks in the dying stages of that Olympic Test game in 2019.
All in all, this should be a cracker of a contest.
PR Sreejesh, Krishna Pathak, Jarmanpreet Singh, Surender Kumar, Harmanpreet Singh (Captain), Varun Kumar, Amit Rohidas (Vice Captain), Nilam Sanjeep Xess, Manpreet Singh, Rajkumar Pal, Nilakanta Sharma, Shamsher Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Akashdeep Singh, Mandeep Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Abhishek, Sukhjeet Singh
Head Coach: Graham Reid
Dom Dixon (GK), Dane Lett, Simon Child, Nick Ross, Sam Hiha, Kim Kingston, Jake Smith, Sam Lane, Simon Yorston, Aidan Sarikaya, Nic Woods (Captain), Joe Morrison, Leon Hayward (GK), Kane Russell, Blair Tarrant, Sean Findlay, Hayden Phillips, Charlie Morrison
Head Coach: Greg Nicol