India suffered a 0-4 defeat at the hands of world champions Australia to win the silver medal, their best finish in six years, in the Silver jubilee edition of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament. This was the ninth title win for Australia as they continued their stranglehold over the tournament.
"Australia are among the toughest opponents one can take on in contemporary hockey, but we have had a successful tournament….we put up a gritty display in the final, but there were some errors in our circle and that caused the 4-0 scoreline," said Indian skipper Sardar Singh.
Sardar also praised the young players for credible show, saying the “purpose has been accomplished”, "We came here with a team comprising several young players with an eye on the future," said the Indian captain, reflecting on this outing. Importantly, India had included junior players from the core group in this squad with the focus on picking the squad for the Olympic Games.
For the reigning world champion and world number one, Australia Craig Davies opened the scoring in the 25th minute when he dribbled past a couple of Indian defenders and dragged goalkeeper Akash Chikte out before putting the ball into an empty net. Craig doubled the lead when he lunged into a cross in the 35th minute for his fourth goal of the tournament. It was then the turn of the veteran Matthew Gohdes, playing in his 150th match to join the party as he scored two more goals to complete a convincing win against an opponent which was making its seventh appearance in the final of the event.
The five-time champion India last won the tournament in 2010, their fifth title, when they were jointly declared winners with South Korea. In 2012 and 2015 they were the bronze medallists.