Powered by Harmanpreet Singh's hattrick of goals, the Indian men's hockey team beat Wales 4-1 and qualified for the semifinals of the Commonwealth Games 2022 on Thursday.
Harmanpreet (19th, 20th, 40th minutes) converted two penalty corners and scored one from the spot while Gurjant Singh struck a field goal in the 49th minute for India. Wales' lone goal was scored by drag-flicker Gareth Furlong in the 55th minute from a set piece.
After the win, India were on course to top Pool B as they enjoy a goal difference of 22 over England, who still have a match against Canada. The Indians had the better share of possession in the first two quarters, but Wales gave a tough fight to their fancied opponents, especially in the first 15 minutes.
India relied on quick inter-passing game and made a few circle penetrations, but failed to create any clear-cut chance, barring a penalty corner in the eighth minute, which Varun Kumar failed to utilise. Wales also made some circle entries inside the Indian D and their best chance came when an unmarked Carlson's shot was saved by an onrushing Sreejesh from a one-on-one situation.
After a barren first quarter, India secured back-to-back penalty corners in the 18th minute, the second of which was put into goal by the ever-reliable Harmanpreet with a low powerful grounded flick. A minute later, India secured another penalty corner and Harmanpreet exhibited his bagful of tricks with another perfect conversion to hand his side a 2-0 lead at half-time.
Two minutes after the change of ends, India secured their fifth penalty corner but wasted the chance. In the 40th minute, the Tokyo Olympics bronze medallists earned back-to-back penalty corners, the second of which resulted in a penalty stroke, and Harmanpreet made no mistake from the spot.
Minutes later, Akashdeep Singh's deflection from a close range was kept out by Wales goalkeeper Tobias Reynolds-Cotterill. An agile Gurjant made the scoreline 4-0 two minutes later as he perfectly turned the face of his stick to deflect in Samsher Singh's high pass.
Wales then secured two penalty corners in quick time and Furlong made use of the second opportunity. A minute from the final hooter, India earned another set piece but Harmanpreet was denied by the Wales defence.
The Indian contingent is on a roll at the Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham. Currently placed seventh on the points table, India has 18 medals in the kitty, with five gold, six silver and seven bronze.
Gold Medal Winners
- Weightlifting, Women's 49 kg: Mirabai Chanu
- Weightlifting, Men's 67 kg: Jeremy Lalrinnunga
- Weightlifting, Men's 73 kg: Achinta Sheuli
- Lawn Bowls, Women's Fours: Lovely Choubey, Rupa Rani Tirkey, Pinki, Nayanmoni Saikia
- Men's Team Table Tennis: Pinki and Nayanmoni Saikia Harmeet Desai, Sanil Shetty, Sharath Achanta, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran
Silver Medal Winners
- Weightlifting, Men's 55kg: Sanket Sargar Weightlifting
- Women's 55 kg: Bindyarani Sorokhaibam
- Judo, Women's 48 kg: Shushila Likmabam
- Weightlifting, Men's 96 kg: Vikas Thakur
- Badminton Mixed Team: Srikanth Kidambi, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, B. Sumeeth Reddy, Lakshya Sen, Chirag Shetty, Gayathri Gopichand, Treesa Jolly, Aakarshi Kashyap, Ashwini Ponnappa, PV Sindhu
- Judo, Women's +78 kg: Tulika Maan
Bronze Medal Winners
- Weightlifting, Men's 61 kg: Gururaja Poojary
- Judo, Men's 60 kg: Vijay Kumar Yadav
- Weightlifting, Women's 71 kg: Harjinder Kaur
- Weightlifting, Men's 109 kg: Lovepreet Singh
- Squash, Men's Singles: Saurav Ghosal
- Weightlifting, Men's 109+ kg: Gurdeep Singh
- Men's High Jump: Tejaswin Shankar