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India's women reach hockey final

01 August 2002

India recover from early setbacks against New Zealand to reach their very first women's Commonwealth hockey final.

India vs New Zealand

India avenged earlier defeat against New Zealand in the semi-final

India beat New Zealand 2-1 to secure a place in the women’s final on Saturday, 3 August as they avenged their earlier 3-1 pool section defeat to the Black Sticks.

Mamta Kharab's persistence, following up a penalty corner rebound with only eight minutes remaining, sealed the win when her team were reduced to 10 players.

Controversy had erupted four minutes earlier when India's Pritam Siwach had been sandwiched by Paula Enoka and Caryn Paewai and India were awarded a penalty stroke by English umpire Dawn Henning.

After a considerable delay as Jyoti Kullu and New Zealand goalkeeper Helen Clarke lined up for the stroke, Henning blew for a free hit to New Zealand.

Indian captain Surja Waikhom was green carded as she led her team’s protest and three minutes later she was sent off.

Suzie Pearce had opened the scoring for New Zealand with a fifth-minute shot which trickled inside the post following a strong run and cross by Jaimee Provan.

India equalised two minutes before the break when Sita Gussain played a long pass into the area for Jyoti Kullu to sweep the ball home.

India finished the stronger team and did well to recover from the penalty stroke controversy to force the winner.

Dawn Henning explained her controversial decision to stop India taking a penalty stroke: “I thought she was ready and if for any reason, she hadn’t understood and I had then blown the whistle to start and then she had missed, then she’s got her right to claim that I started without her being ready."

“And I even clarified that with her that she was ready. She knew exactly what I was talking about but I’ve got no idea why she didn’t respond to it.”

Gurdial Bhangu, India's coach, shrugged off the early setbacks as she specualated on her team's inaugural final appearance: “We will play better in the final. We have improved in every game and I expect the girls to continue to rise to the occasion.

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