KARACHI: Pakistan continued with their impressive form and drew the final test 1-1 at the Trust House Hockey Wairarapa Complex, winning the series 2-1. Two tests ended in draw.
The match began at a fast pace. But goal eluded both teams. It was 0-0 at the half time. The deadlock persisted in the third quarter as well.Pakistan finally broke the ice in the second minute of the last quarter, through an open play goal by Mohammad Irfan Jr.
The hosts, who needed to win the match to level the series, fought back hard. They equalised with 10 minutes left. Sam Lane sent in a fierce reverse shot from the edge of the circle.There was no more goal from either side.
New Zealand’s coach Smith appreciated Pakistan’s display. “Pakistan were impressive throughout the series,” he said.
Pakistan’s coach Khuwaja Junaid expressed satisfaction on the performance of his team. “The boys are improving well,” he said. “Whatever they have been taught in training camps showed in their performance,” he added.
He said he wanted the boys to continue their best game in Australia, where they would play a series against the world champions. Junaid said that despite winning against New Zealand, Pakistan would have to improve their game because in coming days they have to play tougher matches.
Pakistan’s performance against New Zealand laudable: Alam
KARACHI: Pakistan Hockey Federation’s (PHF) Director Development and Domestic Naveed Alam said on Thursday that Pakistan’s 2-1 victory against New Zealand at their own backyard was a big achievement but it should be considered a milestone, not the final destination.
“Our team did a great job,” the former Olympian told PPI. “There were plenty of youngsters and uncapped players in the side as well. They put up a great performance. However, we must not consider it as our ultimate goal. We should now focus on Australian series. I must reiterate our actual goal is the World Cup,” he added.
He said the PHF had tried to increase the pool of players, so it raised competition among players, which paid dividends in the form of triumph in this series.
Pakistan hockey team is preparing for the Hockey World League’s semi-finals, to be held in London in June this year, which will also serve as qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup.
Naveed said that there was a time when Pakistan, four times world champion, used to beat New Zealand by huge margins. “However, New Zealand invested in its domestic structure and we didn’t. This is the reason New Zealand have overtaken us,” Naveed said.
He further said that the Green-shirts would find Australia tougher opponents in the four-test series, which commences on March 28 in Darwin. The four matches will be played at Marrara Hockey Centre on March 28, 29, 31 and April 1.