Six-time champion Australia notched up a thrilling 3-2 victory over New Zealand on Saturday to set up a summit clash with three-time finalist Malaysia at the Sultan Azlan Shah hockey tournament here on Sunday. Malaysia, with eight points, also made it to the final.

In the final round robin match on Saturday, New Zealand needed a win to edge out Australia but it was the Kookaburras who had the upper hand as they took their tally to 11 points. New Zealand finished its engagements with six points.

Jacob Whetton’s twin strikes in the space of two minutes, in the 38th and 39th minutes, put Australia on the driver’s seat, while Matt Gohdes took it further away from New Zealand in the 42nd minute with a field goal — his effort the culmination of a neat combo with Daniel Mirecki.

However, it was New Zealand which scored the first goal of the match, much against the run of play. Javed Panchia was excellent in midfield and he complemented well the speedy runs of Jacob Smith and Issac Staples in the flanks

The results: South Korea 2 (Hyun Hye-Sung 39, Muhammad Irfan 53-og) drew with Pakistan 2 (Salman Hussain 17, Abdul Haseem Khan 47).

Australia 3 (Jacob Whetton 38, 39, Matt Gohdes 42) bt New Zealand 2 (Jacob Smith 27, Cory Bennett 56).

Malaysia 2 (Faizal Saari 6, 70) drew with India 2 (Mandeep Singh 20, Rupinder Pal Singh 48).

Keywords: Azlan Shah

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