India's hockey team lost 1-2 to New Zealand to slide to the third spot in the 25th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, hockey tournament in Ipoh, but before that Sardar Singh-led side thrashed arch-rivals Pakistan 5-1 in a round-robin league match.
Against New Zealand, India failed to utilise three penalty corners -- two in the final quarter -- in the match as they searched for the equaliser and went down losing 1-2.
Five-time winners of the tournament, India were bronze medalists last year and are eager to stay in medal contention. With this win, New Zealand has moved to the second position with 11 points from six matches and the last year's bronze medallists India are third with nine points from five matches. India can still play the final, if they beat hosts Malaysia in their final pool game.
India, has come into the match on the back of sometime average and spirited performances, the Sardar Singh-led side, which features several youngsters, has raised their game by several folds after initial in the tournament surviving a torrid time against Canada. But against Malaysia, the home team the Indian team will have to bring out their best performance. If India beat Malaysia, India will play Australia in the final on Saturday (17th April). In case of a draw, both the teams will play each other in the third-fourth classification match.
In fact in this tournament, the success has eluded for quite some time. The last time they won here was in 2010 — joint champions with South Korea.