It’s not a do-or-die battle for the hosts and former champions India, but their tie against defending champions Australia in women’s hockey on Wednesday is going to be crucial.
After splitting points with lowly Scotland in their opening Pool A match on Monday, India have to raise their standard against the Hockeyroos, who launched their campaign with a crushing 11-0 win against young Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday.
“We didn’t play to potential yesterday. We have to play a better game tomorrow,” said the team’s assistant coach, Pritam Rani Siwach, after watching the Australia- Trinidad and Tobago match.
“They (Australia) are a young side with many new faces, and we have a level-playing field. This is our best chance in the CWG when we can dictate terms before making it to the semifinals,” added the former ace forward.
On Monday, India came within a sniffing distance of losing, but pulled up their socks in the nick of time to force a draw. India appeared too anxious to get cracking against Scotland, and it took a long time for them to get their act together. “We need to win all our matches from now on,” skipper Surinder Kaur said.
For the record, India had lost to Australia in the league and final at the Melbourne Games in 2006.
Australia, who finished fifth at the World Cup this year, have dropped six senior players for the CWG, including 11 debutants in their 16-member squad. Strong performances from Jayde Taylor and Kate Jenner, who made their international debuts three months ago, have seen them maintain their place in the squad.