The Indian males’s hockey staff would fancy its probabilities of at the very least securing a silver medal from the Commonwealth Video games as it can begin because the overwhelming favorite in opposition to a lower-ranked South Africa within the first semifinal in Birmingham on Saturday. The Indians had been awarded the golden alternative after South Africa shocked defending champions New Zealand of their last match to complete second in Pool A behind six-time champions Australia. India, alternatively, completed on prime of Pool B forward of England to keep away from Australia within the final 4 spherical.
The Indians have been unbeaten within the event up to now, registering three wins and a draw. South Africa, alternatively, have recorded two victories and a draw and a loss every.
Going by present type and world stature, the world no.5 Indians will begin as overwhelming favourites in opposition to world no.13 South Africa.
India vice-captain Harmanpreet Singh has been in prime type, main the purpose scorers’ chart with 9 targets. He transformed as many as eight penalty corners and scored one from the spot.
If Harmanpreet was not sufficient, the presence of Varun Kumar, Jugraj Singh and Amit Rohidas provides India a variety of variation in penalty corners.
Whereas skipper Manpreet Singh and Vivek Sagar Prasad have been the spine of India’s midfield, Nilkanta Sharma has impressed one and all along with his show within the event up to now.
Within the entrance line, the ever-reliable Mandeep Singh has been a livewire. He has not solely created alternatives, however has additionally positioned himself on the proper place on the proper time to attain some positive poaching targets.
In Mandeep, Lalit Upadhayay, Shamsher Singh, Akashdeep Singh and Abhishek, the Indians boast of a threatening strike drive and the South African defence must play out of their pores and skin to maintain them in verify.
The one blot for India up to now within the Video games has been the match in opposition to England, which they had been main 3-0 at one stage earlier than lapse in focus and indiscipline allowed the house staff to complete the sport in a 4-4 stalemate.
India would look to place up a disciplined effort and keep away from pointless playing cards, which value them dearly in opposition to England.
Harmanpreet stated the bronze medal end at Tokyo Olympics imbibed self-confidence within the staff.
“We learnt lots about ourselves as a staff on the Tokyo Olympics, which has helped us enhance as a squad. However first, our goal is on the match tomorrow and we’re all set,” he stated.
South Africa, in the meantime, can be brimming with confidence after upstaging higher-ranked New Zealand.
South Africa are identified for sitting again and shocking their opponents with brisk counter-attacks.
“It would not matter who we play within the semis, we’ll simply give attention to that sport and see what occurs,” drag-flicker Connor Beauchamp stated.
Within the different semifinal, Australia will tackle hosts England.
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