India 2 New Zealand 2
Petherick - 8th min
Sandeep Singh - 27th min, 48th min
Bartholomew - 63rd min
Going by the results of some of the recent matches played between India and New Zealand, an Indian victory seemed to be the most obvious result, when the two teams faced each other for their third match of the Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey tournament. India had got the better of the Black Sticks in four of the last six matches played. The remaining two had ended in a stalemate.
However it was the Kiwis who got off to a quick start taking the lead in the 8th minute. Richard Petherick, who made his debut at this tournament four years ago, found the net from a penalty corner. The early setback put the Indians into action as they started making inroads into the Kiwi circle. The efforts finally paid off as India earned a penalty corner in the 26th minute. Captain Sandeep Singh scored his third goal of the tournament to put India on level terms. The teams went into the locker room tied at 1-1.
The Indians seemed to pick up from where they left in the second half and Sandeep converted another penalty corner in the 48th minute for his second of the game. Despite the lead, the Indians seemed to ease off a bit and that allowed New Zealand to work their way into the match. Skipper Blair Hopping played the leading role in creating the moves and constantly pressurised the Indian defence. However, the Indians could not stand the onslaught and conceded their fourth penalty corner of the match with just over seven minutes remaining. 20-year old Joseph Bartholomew, who is playing his first international tournament, sounded the board for the equaliser.
The draw means, that both India and New Zealand have to win their last league match to make it to the final. India have a tough clash with arch-rivals Pakistan, who beat Egypt 4-0 on Thursday, while the Kiwis take on Malaysia. The hosts need only a draw to confirm their spot in the title clash.