Vandana Kataria slammed a hattrick as Indian eves thrashed minnows Russia 10-1 to enter the quarter-finals of the Women’s Junior Hockey World Cup here on Tuesday.
After the 1-6 drubbing at the hands of Australia and 2-0 victory over New Zealand, the Indian girls needed to win by a bigger margin against Russia and hope for either an Australian victory over New Zealand or a draw in the final Pool C match to make it to the knock-out stage.
India’s prayers did not go unheard as Australia managed to hold New Zealand to a 3-3 draw.
Australia topped Pool C with seven points from three games, while India finished second with six points.
India will now face Pool D champions in the quarterfinals on Thursday, while Australia will be up against the second-placed team from Pool D.
India scored five goals in each half through Vandana (7th minute, 15th, 31st), Poonam Rani (22nd, 27th), Rani (39th, 49th), Ritusha Kumani Arya (44th), Manjit Kaur (69th) and an own goal in the 66th minute.
Anastasia Miroshikova scored the lone goal for Russia in the 36th minute.
Fully aware that only a win would keep them in quarter-finals hunt, the Indians went for the offensive from the onset and opened the scoring in the seventh minute through Vandana who converted the team’s third penalty corner.
Vandana was again at the thick of things eight minutes later when she doubled India’s lead through a field effort.
Poonam then joined the party and scored two goals in a span of six minutes to extend India’s lead.
Vandana completed her hattrick four minutes from the lemon break to make the score line 5-0 in favour of the Indian girls.
But 40 seconds into the second half, the Indians were in for a rude shock when Anastasia pulled one back for Russia.
Barring the slight lapse in concentration, the Indians played neat, error-free hockey and it resulted in goals for the blue brigade.
After Russia’s unexpected strike, Rani quickly restored India’s five goal lead before Ritusha slapped the ball into the back of the opposition net from a crowded circle to make it 7-1 in favour of India.
India’s goal-scoring spree continued as Rani slammed her second of the day in the 49th minute.
An own goal from Russia four minutes from the hooter made it 1-9 before Manjit converted a late penalty corner to complete the rout.