Hero Asia Cup 2022: 16-0 win over Indonesia carries India through

India had both luck and pluck on its side as it managed to secure its place in Super 4 of the Hero Asia Cup Hockey Tournament for men at Jakarta on Thursday.

Helped by Japan scoring a narrow and controversial 3-2 win over Pakistan, India picked up a stunning 16-0 win over the hosts Indonesia  to qualify for Super 4s. 

Tied with four points each, India edged out Pakistan on better goal average to move up.

Dipsan Tirkey (42′, 47′, 59′, 59′)  was the chief architect of India‚Äôs big win by scoring four goals while Sudev Belimagga (45′, 46′, 55′) also had a hat-trick. Pawan Rajbhar (10′, 11),SV Sunil (19′, 24′), and Karthi Selvam (40′, 56′) also scored a brace each while Uttam Singh (14′), Nilam Sanjeep Xess (20′) and Birendra Lakra (41′) scored a goal each to help their team to record its first and most needed win in the tournament.

The win means ouster of Pakistan from the Super 4s. Japan, Korea and Malaysia are the other teams along with India to make the Super 4s.

India plays Japan in its first game of Super 4s on Saturday while Malaysia takes on Korea.

In an absorbing encounter, Pakistan were at the receiving end as two of its goals were disallowed and it also had three yellow cards. One of the goals was disallowed as the Umpire found out after the award that there were 12 Pakistani players on the field. Besides disallowing the goal, the Umpire also gave a yellow card to Pakistan captain Umar Bhutta.

Another goal scored by Umar Bhutta was disallowed as one of the forwards had allegedly committed an infringement before the ball was deflected home. At one stage even the Technical Delegate walked into the ground and argued with the Umpire before leaving it to him (umpire) to take a final decision. Referral was turned down and a free hit to Japan, yellow card to Pakistan and cancellation of goal came as final decision of the umpire.

Since Japan-Pakistan game was played before India-Indonesia game, the defending champions knew they have to record a win by 15 or more goals to move to Super 4s round. And India got its last two goals in last two minutes of the game through penalty corners.

India started the match against Indonesia at a relentless pace, showcasing its intention to get a big win from the first minute itself. In the 7th minute, the team missed a clear chance to forge ahead. It did not have to wait for long to get off the mark as Pawan Rajbhar struck two goals in two minutes to give his team a 2-0 lead before Uttam Singh added another goal just before the closing of the first quarter.

SV Sunil made an impact in the 2nd quarter as he deflected the ball into the Indonesian goal in the 19th minute. A minute later, Nilam Sanjeep Xess added another goal for India from a penalty corner as the lead was extended to 5-0. SV Sunil  once again found the target with a neat deflection a few minutes later to make it  6-0 before the half-time.

Indonesia goalkeeper Alam Fajar defended well in the third quarter as India continued to search for more goals. Karthi Selvam finally broke the resistance in the 40th minute, getting the 7th goal for India. Skipper Birendra Lakra made an impact, getting the 8th goal  in the 41st minute, after which Dipsan Tirkey and Sudev Belimagga scored a goal each to take India to 10-0 before the start of the final quarter. In the final 15 minutes, Dipsan Tirkey scored thrice, Sudev Belimagga scored a brace, while Selvam Karthi added another goal as India picked up a consolidating 16-0 win.