Previously when India and Pakistan met with each other on a hockey pitch, the teams were in a different mindset. Back then the team had performed under the coaching guidance of Roelant Oltmans and the venue was London. And the tournament was Hockey World League. But this time the scenarios are different for both of them. It is a world cup qualifying platform for both the teams. On Sunday, when the two rivals take the pitch once again, many things would have changed. Former Women’s coach Sjoerd Marine. Therefore the focus has shifted to Asia Cup with the side preparing for the Hockey World League final in under two months.
Back then India had emerged triumphant by a whopping 6-1 margin. If India’s start to Asia Cup is any sort of indication, another thrashing is about to reflect on the cards. India started the Asia Cup with a 5-1 win over Japan. And on the other end, they have added a 7-0 win over hosts Bangladesh to their Group A fixtures on Friday. The wins guided India through to the Super 4. Pakistan beat Bangladesh by the same margin before drawing 2-2 with Japan.
In the first two games, India has displayed beautiful one touch passing. This tactic has awarded them with field goals and plenty of penetration inside the area. Both flanks have created chances or chances have come their way. However, India’s problems with penalty corners have continued even under Marine. Against Bangladesh, India earned 13 penalty corners and converted just two with the first goal coming on the ninth attempt.
Pakistan might not be a force to reckon with if their records in the recent past are considered. But an India-Pakistan game brings out the best in anyone. A perfect example of that is the Pakistan cricket team victorious feat achieved against India. This ICC Champions Trophy victory of them was the end of their dismal record in ICC events.
On Sunday, India will have to once again be in complete control sportingly and emotionally to get the better of Pakistan. Any lapses would rue the good work done in the first two games including the confident win over Japan.
Pakistan would be eager for revenge following that 1-6 hammering in London as it proved to be the reason for them missing next year’s World Cup to be held in Bhubaneswar. In Asia Cup itself, it is an important game for Pakistan as Japan is expected to trounce Bangladesh leaving the 14th ranked Pakistan all to do against India.