New Zealand vs India (Women’s Hockey CWG 2022 Bronze Medal Match): Preview and Prediction￼
The girls from New Zealand, who had shocked the Australians in the final of the 2022 Games in Gold Coast, went down by a 2-0 in penalty shootout margin against Games hosts England in the semi-finals while the Indians lost to 2018 silver medallists Australia 3-0 again in the penalty shootout.
Interestingly, India has won medals in two editions of the Commonwealth Games, a gold in 2002 and a silver in 2006 and these are in fact the only two games where New Zealand have not won a medal in the Games. History will repeat itself as this time too one of the two teams will win a medal while the other will not.
India has had a superb CWG campaign first defeating Ghana by a 5-0 margin and coupling that up by defeating Wales 3-1 last week. The Indian eves however went down to hosts England at the University of Birmingham ground 3-1, but they came back once again to defeat Canada 3-2 to make it to the semis.
Against Australia, India looked calm while defending and almost snatched a victory before going down 3-0 in penalty shootouts after the game in regulation time ended with a 1-1 draw thus failing to make it to the finals and rather going on to play for the third place finish.
Meanwhile, New Zealand started their competition by registering a 16-nil victory over Kenya in their tournament opener and followed that up with a marginal 1-0 win over Scotland. The Kiwis then went down 1-0 against four-time Games champion Australia, however they got back to winning ways by defeating South Africa 4-1 to make it to the semis.
In the semis, there was nothing to separate between England and New Zealand, however the former won by courtesy of a penalty shootout after the game ended 0-0 at the end of regulation time. Given the rivalry, India vs New Zealand match promises to be a thriller.
What have they done so far in the Games?
The Indian women, like their male counterparts, finished fourth in the previous edition of the Games in Gold Coast, losing 0-6 to England in the bronze medal play-off match.
The Indians were concerned going into the latest Games because of their disappointing performance in the recently concluded World Cup in Spain and the Netherlands, where the Savita Punia-led team finished ninth.
Now, Janneke Schopman’s team will be desperate to demonstrate that it is far better than its recent results suggest. They’d be eager to prove that their historic fourth-place finish in Tokyo last year wasn’t a fluke.
The Indian women’s team would also like to end their 16-year medal drought in the Games; India’s last medal in the CWG was a silver medal in Melbourne in 2006. Since the Games’ inception in 1998, the Indian women’s only other medal has been a gold medal in the 2002 edition in Manchester.
New Zealand, however, who finished as champions in the 2018 Gold Coast games must be disappointed to have not been in the finals. Being a higher-ranked side than India, they will fancy their chances of making it to the podium finish but they would certainly have to pay respect to the Indians who are no more pushovers.
New Zealand is the second-best team in the competition in both categories – when medal positions and medal count are taken into account. They won the Gold in the 2018 Games, a silver medal in the Delhi 2010 Games and two bronze medals in the 1998 and in 2014 games.
Head to Head Record
India and New Zealand have faced each other five times in the Commonwealth games with the latter heading the head-to-head records by winning three games whilst the former winning two. In their last encounter in the games, New Zealand thrashed India 3-0 in the group game of the 2014 Glasgow Games.
However, this year, both the teams only played one game against each other that came in the 2022 Hockey World Cup. That game ended in a 4-3 victory for the Kiwis.
Megan Hull (New Zealand): Nominated for the 2017 World Player of the Year award after consistently playing at a phenomenal level for the Blacksticks, Megan Hull is a star of the women’s game.
At 26 years old, she is a ‘young veteran’ of over 200 international caps and has helped New Zealand rise to fourth in the International Hockey Federation world rankings. Hard-working, resilient, tenacious and tough, Hull leads from the front and will be one of the important players for the Kiwis in this Bronze Medal match.
Vandana Katariya (India): Vandana Katariya is now one of the most experienced players in the Indian women’s hockey team. The forward player has notched up 270 caps for the national team and will look to continue her good performance in the upcoming tournament.
She has everything you want in a forward hockey player. Vandana Katariya has pace, skill and an eye for goal. She often scores important goals for India and gets to key positions inside the circle.
The forward player was the part of the team that surprised everyone at the Tokyo Olympics last year and the player will try to do the same in the Bronze medal game of the 2022 CWG games wherein she is India’s top goal scorer.
New Zealand squad: Kaitlin Cotter, Anna Crowley, Tarryn Davey, Frances Davies, Stephanie Dickins, Katie Doar, Aniwaka Haumaha, Megan Hull (C), Alia Jaques, Tessa Jopp, Tyler Lench, Alex Lukin, Olivia Merry, Grace O’Hanlon, Hope Ralph, Brooke Roberts, Olivia Shannon, Rose Tynan
India squad: Savita Punia (C), Rajani Etimarpu, Deep Grace Ekka, Gurjit Kaur, Nikki Pradhan, Udita, Nisha, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Monika, Neha, Jyoti, Navjot Kaur, Salima Tete, Vandana Katariya, Lalremsiami, Navneet Kaur, Sharmila Devi, Sangita Kumari
Given what is at stake, Savita and Co. are likely to be conservative in their approach but will press hard in the opening minutes. The Indian forwards, who looked a wee bit off-colour in the semi-finals, are expected to display more creativity in the attacking third.
This will definitely be a tough encounter, however, with both teams having equal capabilities, the team that will be better on that very day will be victorious.