India starts favourite against SA in hockey semis

The Indians were awarded the golden opportunity after South Africa stunned defending champion New Zealand in its final match to finish second in Pool A behind six-time champion Australia.
Representative image
Representative image

BIRMINGHAM: The Indian men’s hockey team would fancy its chances of at least securing a silver medal from the Commonwealth Games as it will start as the overwhelming favourite against a lower-ranked South Africa in the first semifinal here on Saturday. The Indians were awarded the golden opportunity after South Africa stunned defending champion New Zealand in its final match to finish second in Pool A behind six-time champion Australia. India, on the other hand, finished on top of Pool B ahead of England to avoid Australia in the last four round. The Indians have been unbeaten in the tournament so far, registering three wins and a draw. South Africa, on the other hand, has recorded two victories and a draw and a loss each. India vice-captain Harmanpreet Singh has been in top form, leading the goal scorers’ chart with nine goals. He converted as many as eight penalty corners and scored one from the spot. If Harmanpreet was not enough, the presence of Varun Kumar, Jugraj Singh and Amit Rohidas gives India a wide range of variation in penalty corners. While skipper Manpreet Singh and Vivek Sagar Prasad have been the backbone of India’s midfield, Nilkanta Sharma has impressed all and sundry with his display in the tournament so far.

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