Jharkhand consolidates its position

GREAT EFFORT: Jharkhand's Anita Sawasi (right) scores past Delhi's Poonam Dhiman. — Photo: V.V. Krishnan

GREAT EFFORT: Jharkhand's Anita Sawasi (right) scores past Delhi's Poonam Dhiman. — Photo: V.V. Krishnan  

Kirti Patil

NEW DELHI: Skipper Sushma Kiran Minz scored a goal in either half as Jharkhand consolidated its position for a semifinal berth in the 53rd National women's hockey championship at the Shivaji Stadium here on Tuesday.

Playing under a constant drizzle, Jharkhand maintained pressure on Delhi till the very end and won 2-0 in the crucial Pool `B' league match. After Haryana, Railways and Mumbai secured their semi-final berths, Jharkhand emerged as the best team behind the trio.

Jharkhand has won three matches and drawn one with a match against Mumbai remaining. Indian Universities, the runner-up of the last Nationals, still has an outside chance of making it to the semi-final, provided it wins all its remaining matches and Mumbai beats Jharkhand.

Tentative start

After a tentative start, Jharkhand made sure that entire Delhi team was playing in the defence. Strikers Nilima Kispotta, Sarita Lakra and Sushma kept constant pressure before the breakthrough came in. Sushma gave Jharkhand some reason to smile when she found the net in the 30th minute. Seven minutes into the second half, Sushma virtually sealed the match for Jharkhand.

As the incessant rain brought relief, Railways pounded Karnataka 18-0 to better its goal average and leapfrog to the top of Pool `A'. Railways is on plus-54 goal average while Haryana has plus-52.

Railways opened its attack in the second minute and goals poured like a shower. Mamta Kharab was the top scorer with four goals while the fleet-footed Sanggai Ibemhal Chanu and seasoned Jyoti Sunita Kullu slotted home three each.

The defending champion made an ominous start, converting first four penalty corners. Karnataka was pathetic so to say and managed to enter scoring area only twice in 70 minutes. As Karnataka left several openings for Railways to cruise in, its forward-line revelled under the conditions.

The 28th minute ninth goal scored by Sanggai off reverse flick was a great effort; otherwise most were just on regulation. As many as 10 players had their names in the score-sheet, as Railways made full use of the regulation rule.

In an inconsequential Pool `A' league match, Orissa defeated Kerala 5-1. Ejren Dadel scored two goals while Jasinta Toppo, Nilima Kujur and Mukta Prava Barla had one each.

The results:

Pool A: Railways 18 (Subhadra Pradhan 2nd and 11th, Jyoti Sunita Kullu 4th, 46th and 65th, Mamta Kharab 9th, 20th, 35th and 66th, Adline Kerketta 16th, Masira Surin 19th, Sanggai Ibemhal Chanu 25th, 28th and 53rd, Pushpa Pradhan 38th, Amrita Minz 41st, Saba Anjum 44th, Gurpreet Kaur 62nd) bt Karnataka 0.

Orissa 5 (Ejren Dadel 1st and 7th, Jasinta Toppo 5th, Nilima Kujur 35th, Mukta Prava Barla 64th) bt Kerala 1 (Soumya M. 60th).

Pool B: Jharkhand 2 (Sushma Kiran Minz 30th and 42nd) bt Delhi 0.

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