Befitting its stature, the final of the Hero women’s Hockey World League Round 2 here on Sunday was the best match of the tournament, and India won 3-1 against Poland at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.
The teams were evenly matched in every department, making it a well-fought and fast-paced contest. While India began aggressively, a confident Poland gradually kept increasing its attacks with well co-ordinated short passes to storm past the Indian defence.
Vandana Katariya finally broke the deadlock in the 15th minute after several close chances were missed. Poland struck back immediately on resumption in the second quarter, Oriana Walasek deflecting home off the team’s first penalty corner. India earned four, but could not convert any.
Rani was the Indian team’s lynchpin, creating most of the chances, earning penalty corners and scoring a brilliant goal from an acute angle on the backline in the 44th minute.
Making a comeback a dislocated shoulder put her out of action for six months, Rani proved her worth with some sharp, accurate passes. Her goal was the impetus India needed at a time when Poland was increasingly threatening to go ahead.
There were some tense moments for India when Poland earned its fifth penalty corner two minutes from time, but it was saved. A minute later, Ritu Rani scored India’s third goal after being put through by Poonam Rani from just outside the circle.
The results: Final: India 3 (Vandana Katariya, Rani, Ritu Rani) bt Poland 1 (Oriana Walasek).
Play-offs: 3-4: Malaysia 3 (Fazilla Sylvester Silin 2, Norazlin Sumantri) bt Thailand 0; 5-6: Russia 9 (Ksenia Shamina 4, Kristina Shumilina 2, Daria Vasileva 2, Marina Fedorova) bt Kazakhstan 0; 7-8: Ghana 2 (Linda Sasu, Elizabeth Opoku) bt Singapore 1 (Ivy Chan).
Source: The Hindu