Ipoh:Sandeep Singh's hat-trick went in vain as India squandered a 2-0 lead to go down 3-4 to New Zealand in their first match of the Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament on Thursday.
Comeback man Sandeep converted all three penalty corners but the resilient Kiwis scored twice in the first half and as many after the breather to walk away with full points.
For the winners, Andrew Hayward, Simon Child, Phillip Burrows and Gareth Brooks sounded the board.
India made a good start and were leading 2-0 with Sandeep converting both the penalty corners that came his way before Hayward first reduced the margin from a penalty corner and Child deflected home a pass just in time to go into the breather at 2-2.
In the second half, the Kiwis ruled the roost with Philip and Brooks slamming back-to-back goals to snatch the lead.
Though a field goal eluded them, India managed to win a penalty corner in this session and Sandeep was again bang on target as his rasping shot beat the Kiwi defence all ends up.
The Indians did everything they could for the equaliser but the Kiwi defence did well to thwart the raids till the end.