Having entered the final after mauling their opponents mercilessly, India are expected to comfortably walk away with the gold when they take on Sri Lanka in the summit clash of the women’s hockey here tomorrow.
India are the overwhelming favourites to win the gold in the Games as they are ranked 13th in the world, while the two other teams—Sri Lanka and Nepal—are not even included in the FIH ranking charts.
Expectedly, the home side walloped their two rival teams in the league stage, thrashing Nepal 24-0 in their opening match before beating Sri Lanka 12-1.
Sri Lanka yesterday thrashed Nepal 15-0 to set up a title clash against India in the competition, which had just three teams.
India had come here with a reasonably strong team as the team management wanted to play as many international games as possible in the run up to the Rio Games.
Indian women’s hockey team had qualified for the Olympics after a gap of 36 years.
Neil Hawgood, chief coach of the women’s team, had said that the SAG was of key importance in the scheme of things as the team needs to play as many international games as possible ahead of the Olympics and try out new players to give a wider spread of talent to choose from for the Rio Games.
In the first match against Nepal, it was an exhibition of India’s goal-scoring prowess as the home players found the target almost at will in the 24-0 mauling at the Moullana Tayabullah Stadium.
The match looked like a practice match with the Indian players competing in registering their names in the score sheet.
Strikers Soundarya Yendala (15th, 52nd, 62nd and 64th minutes) and Poonam Barla (7th, 472nd, 43rd and 51st) scored the most with four strikes each. Four players—Rani (2nd, 46th and 48th), Jaspreet Kaur (4th, 35th and 56th), Neha Goyal (14th, 22ndand 70th) and Deepika (53rd, 62nd and 67th) -- scored thrice each, while Gurjit Kaur (21st and 41st) and Preeti Dubey (23rd and 29th) got the other goals for India.
In the second match against Sri Lanka, India had thrashed Sri Lanka 12-1 to make it to the final.