Indian Women's Hockey team has started the 4-match hockey series against South Africa with a win. The women's team won 5-1 in the first match of the Test series in Cape Town, South Africa on Monday.
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Led by goalkeeper Savita Punia, the team showed good defense and a lot of variation in attack. In the 11th minute of the first quarter, the returning Rani Rampal made an impressive comeback and gave the team an early lead by converting a penalty corner. Monika scored in the 19th minute and the score became 2-0. Navneet Kaur scored a field goal in the 23rd minute and Gurjit Kaur scored in the 24th minute to put India ahead 4-0. In the 29th minute, Sangita Kumari scored from a penalty corner to give India a huge 5-0 lead. After this, South Africa scored the only goal in the third quarter.
Although the Indian Women's Hockey team created frequent chances in the third and fourth quarters as well, the South African team had strengthened its defense by then. India won with a score of 5–1 at full-time. This Test series against South Africa, positioned at number 22, will prove to be very beneficial for practice for the Indian team, which is ranked number 8 in the FIH world rankings. After this Test series, the Indian team will play second Test match against the Netherlands.
Getting a Test series opportunity against the World No. 1 Dutch team will give the Indian Women's Hockey team a great experience. The Test series against the Netherlands will begin on January 23. This match is very important for the Indian team before the Asian Games to be held this year. In addition, the team aims to get direct qualification for next year's Paris Olympics. The women's team has been on a high since winning the bronze medal at the 2022 Birmingham Games last year.