India to clash with Pakistan in final

India will rely on the form of their drag-flickers when they take on archrivals Pakistan in the final of the Genting 4-nation under-21 hockey tournament.

updated: March 14, 2009 13:10 IST
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Johor Bahru, Malaysia:

India will rely on the form of their drag-flickers when they take on archrivals Pakistan in the final of the Genting four-nation under-21 hockey tournament here on Sunday.

The Indians have maintained an all-win record in the tournament so far and their 3-1 victory in the last match against Pakistan should put them in good stead for the summit showdown at the Taman Daya stadium.

Coach A K Bansal is confident of his wards putting up a good show in the final which will witness a classic battle of nerve and skill between the two bitter rivals.

"We are ready to take on Pakistan. We have played well so far and there is no reason why we can't put it across our rivals tomorrow", Bansal said.

The Indians will heavily rely on captain and star drag flicker Diwakar Ram to score the goals while Mandip Antil has also been in good touch and could be a big threat for the Pakistanis.

The Indians started their campaign with a convincing 3-1 victory against the hosts Malaysia and then spanked Singapore 12-0 in the next game. They defeated Pakistan 3-1 in the last league match to set up a title clash against their traditional rivals.

Innocent Kullu and Sunil Yadav a big role to play in the defence as the Pakistanis have a few forwards who are quite capable of piercing through the defence.

Birendra Lakra, Vikas Sharma, Belsajar Horo, Amardeep Ekka and Manjeet Kullu are the midfielders while the attackline is spearheaded by Pramod Kumar, Jay Karan, Danish Mujtaba and Mandip Antil.

The bench strength comprised Amir Khan, Lalit Upadhyay, Mohd. Asif and Mumbai newcomer Victo Singh.

The Indian colts have performed satisfactorily in their build up for the Junior World Cup to be staged simultaneously at Singapore and Johor Bahru in June.

They registered Test series victories against world champions Argentina and European powerhouse Holland in December before finishing runners-up at Sydney.

Pakistan also look a formidable squad under striker Haseeb Khan supported by Olympians Mohd Zubair upfront and penalty corner specialist Mohd Atique.