The India women's hockey team, silver medallist in the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games, notched up a convincing 7-0 win against lowly Trinidad and Tobago on Friday. But their hopes of making it to the semi-finals hang on a remote mathematical possibility.
Despite a huge win, they still need to beat South Africa in their last league match in Pool A on Saturday, and that too with a margin of seven goals. But it looks unlikely, especially after South Africa's fine show against defending champions Australia, where they fought back to settle for a 1-1 draw.
South Africa and Australia now are in joint lead with seven points each. So far, India have scored nine goals and conceded just three, where as South Africa have struck 15 goals and conceded just two.
"We just have a small chance of making it to the last four, and for that we need to put South Africa under pressure from the very beginning tomorrow," said team's assistant coach Pritam Rani Siwach.
On Friday, India made the most of the easy offerings from the young rivals, but missed at least a dozen chances too. Had they been converted, the victory margin could have been in double figures.
Leading from the front was skipper Surinder Kaur who struck four goals after opening India's account in the eighth minute itself. Ritu Rani, Rani Rampal and Jasjeet Kaur Handa all scored one goal each. The inexperience of Trinidad and Tobago side could be gauged by the fact that India goalkeeper Dipika Murthy was tested just twice.
Blair Wynne and Brittney Hingh were quick enough to beat the pace of the Indians, but inexperienced tackling and dribbling didn't allow them to pose any threat to the hosts.
Indians put up a much better show as far as penalty corners were concerned, converting three out of 11 opportunities before a cheering crowd.
The South Africa-Australia match turned out to be cliff-hanger. The Aussies went ahead through their consistent scorer Emily Hurtz in the first-half, while South Africa equalised on resumption through Sulette Damons.
Earlier, New Zealand outplayed England 4-1 to make it to the semi-finals from Pool B. They have nine points, whereas England remained on six after two wins.
The defeat puts England in a must-win situation when they go up against Malaysia in their final league match, while the Kiwis face Canada.