Changzhou (China), Sep 10:
Captain Rani Rampal scored a hat-trick as India hammered Malaysia 9-1 to enter the semi-finals of the seventh Women’s Junior Asia Cup hockey tournament here on Thursday.
One day after losing 2-4 to China, the Indian eves did well to regroup and were inspired by ace striker Rani, who scored in the eighth, 37th and 42nd minutes. Penalty corner specialist Jaspreet Kaur (15th and 60th) scored a brace in the final league match of the side.
India wasted no time in attacking the opponent’s half and penetrated the Malaysian circle in the early minutes of the game. Preeti Dubey rushed into the Malaysian defence and played a cross towards Rani, who opened the account in the 8th minute.
Seven minutes later, it was Jaspreet who converted a penalty corner to double India’s lead. With six minutes left in the first half, India took a 3-0 lead with the help of Preeti’s brilliant stick work.
Mohd. Saiuti Norfaiezah sneaked through the Indian defence in a counter-attack to earn the first goal for her team in the 32nd minute as the first half ended 3-1.
Indian girls came all guns blazing in the second half, looking all fired to add more goals.
Rani scored her second goal in the 37th minute, while defender Deep Grace Ekka made it 5-1 in the 39th minute.
Two minutes later, Navneet Kaur scored a field goal, while Rani completed her hat-trick in the 42nd minute, taking the score to 7-1.
The 51st minute saw striker Poonam Balra deflecting a running ball from wide angle past through the goalkeeper to add the eighth goal for her team.
Jaspreet got her second in the final minute to help India register a thumping win.
India will now gear up for their semi-final slated for Saturday. (IANS)