India needs to win last two remaining fixtures against New Zealand and Malaysia in the Azlan Shah Cup. India has lost two matches against Australia and Korea and has only managed to defeat Pakistan in the three matches played so far. But, this victory has helped the Indian team move up to fourth position in the standings table, which comprises six nations in total. Each team has played three matches so far.
Only the top four teams would be playing for a podium finish after the conclusion of the round robin stage. The first two teams would play for the first and the second position, whereas the third and the fourth placed team would play for the third position. So, it becomes imperative for India
to win their remaining matches and increase their chances of being in the podium.
India takes on New Zealand today, 14 March, which is a crucial encounter. If India fails to win the match, it could well spell the end of its road in the championship. The match is equally of great importance to New Zealand, who have also got three points under their belt, but their goal difference has helped them gain third position, one better than India. New Zealand also like India won their last match against Korea to stay alive in the competition.
Even a win against the New Zealanders might not prove to be enough, if they fail to win against Malaysia, who has proved to be one of the best teams in the championship. Malaysia has not lost a single match in the competition, and they are placed second in the standings table with seven points. The game is expected to be a closely fought one with both Asian teams eager to get a podium finish – higher the better.
India while playing the remainder of the league matches should have an aggressive approach but needs to be careful at the back. The young Indian team showed great composure against the Pakistan team, which India had won 3-1. A similar kind of a performance against New Zealand and Malaysia should help them at least grab a podium finish.