Holders India thrashed minnows Malaysia 9-0 to start their title defence on an emphatic note at the Women’s Hockey Asia Cup 2022 in Muscat on Friday. The Indians scored two goals apiece in the first two quarters before returning back to pump in five more in the last two quarters. (More Hockey News)
With four World Cup spots at stake from this tournament, India started a bit slowly but got their grip as the match progressed. It didn't take India too long to take the lead through Vandana Katariya, who tapped in an open goal after being set up by fine one-two between Navneet Kaur and Sharmila Devi.
The Indians stepped up the pressure and secured their first penalty corner soon but it went wasted. The Indians kept up the pressure on the Malaysian defence and earned two penalty corners in quick time, the second of which was brilliantly converted by Deep Grace Ekka.
Navneet Kaur then scored with a fierce reverse hit from the top of the circle to hand India a commanding 3-0 at the end of the first quarter. Seconds into the second quarter, India earned another penalty corner but Gurjit Kaur's flick was saved by the Malaysian defence.
Navneet scored her second goal of the day minutes from the breather with another powerful hit from the top of the D as India went into halftime with a 4-0 lead. Just after the change of ends, Neha Goyal scored India's fifth goal before an unmarked Lalremsiami found the back of the Malaysian net to lead 6-0.
Monika soon registered her name in the scoresheet to extend India's lead. The Indians continued their onslaught when Navjot Kaur scored the team's eighth goal just after the start of the fourth and final quarter.
Sharmila Devi made it 9-0 five minutes from the final hooter, tapping in from close range. The defending champions are grouped in Pool A along with Japan, Malaysia and Singapore. India will next play against Japan on Sunday before squaring off against Singapore in their final pool game on January 24.