Malaysia hit for six in Sultan Azlan Shah Cup
THE gulf in class was hard to disguise as Australia hammered Malaysia 6-1 in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh yesterday. Only Faizal Shaari managed to score against the Aussies off a penalty stroke in the 42nd minute, while the six were scored by hat-trick heroes Tom Craig (11th, 38th, 44th) and Trent Mitton (23rd, 27th, 58th).
Malaysian coach Stephen van Huizen said: “Obviously we are disappointed with the result. We gave too much respect to Australia in the first quarter. We lost two players (green and yellow cards) and this affected our game.
“We had a good third quarter and I am happy with the performance of the players as they fought hard.
“Australia created a lot of chances, far more than we had. Losing 6-1 is tough to accept and we need to regroup ourselves and come back.”
In another match, drag-flick specialist Harmanpreet Singh scored a brace as India bounced back from a lacklustre first quarter performance to beat New Zealand 3-0 in the 26th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup yesterday.
Matches were delayed by an hour again, as a thunderstorm hit Ipoh.
New Zealand and India went into the match in search of a first win in the tournament.
The Kiwis played to a 1-1 draw against defending champions and World No 2 Australia in Saturday’s opening encounter while the Indians, sixth on the world rankings, emerged with a 2-2 draw after a gruelling session against Britain.
Led by S.V. Sunil, who earned his 200th international cap yesterday, India’s attacking machinery got its act together in the second quarter with a series of quick counter attacks, earned three penalty corners and broke the deadlock.
Mandeep Singh deflected a bouncing ball past Harry Gibson in the 23rd minute via open play to go 1-0 ahead and Harmanpreet Singh swept a powerful drag flick three minutes before the end of the quarter to double the score.
Harmanpreet nailed the third in the 47th.
India coach Roelant Oltmans said: “I am happy with the result. I only prefer to win. But I am not happy with the way we performed although we did expect New Zealand to play a different way. After the first quarter we completely dominated the game.”
In another match, Britain pulled off a stunning 5-3 victory over Japan.
The Britons lived up to their promise of making a strong comeback against the Japanese following an exciting 2-2 draw against India on Saturday.
RESULTS: India 3 New Zealand 0, Japan 3 Britain 5, Australia 6 Malaysia 1.
TOMORROW: India v Australia (4pm), New Zealand v Japan (6pm), Malaysia v Britain (8.30pm).