The Indian women’s team produced another superb performance to overcome South Africa and make their way into the quarterfinals at Tokyo. India won 4-3 against a spirited South African team, who clawed back from being down thrice in the contest, but the Indians proved to be too strong for them at the final hooter.
Vandana Katariya scored a brilliant hattrick for India, with Neha scoring the other goal. The Indian team was particularly good at the penalty corners as India converted three of them today and ensured that they progressed into the knockout stages.
Team India took an early lead in the match, courtesy of a brilliant move from the forward line, Vandana Katariya converting the chance with an excellent finish. But just before the quarter ended, South Africa managed to find an equalizer courtesy of Taryn Mallet – who deflected a long pass into the back of the net.
In the second quarter, the women in blue once again found the back of the net early this time, via a penalty corner. Deep Grace Ekka with the shot, and Vandana Katariya deflecting it on to the target. A brilliant save by the South African keeper kept India from stretching their lead, and just like they did in the first quarter, the South Africans found an equalizer just before the second quarter ended.
And almost as if by design, India took the lead again the first minute of the penultimate quarter. Captain Rani Rampal’s drag flick, deflected into the goal by Neha. At 3-3 and just another quarter, both teams were keen to push forward, and India almost came close to finding the lead in the 44th minute. But then they did find the lead in the fourth quarter and this time managed to hold on to it, to move into QFs contention.
This was a brilliant outcome for a team that had lost three of this opening matches and looked on the brink before fashioning a sensational turnaround.