The Indian women’s hockey team’s loss to New Zealand in the Hawke’s Bay Cup opening match had one silver lining. Indian Eves forward Poonam Rani achieved the distinction of playing 150 matches for her India.
Hisar-born Poonam, who played her first international in 2009, has not looked back since her debut helped her seal a Junior World Cup berth in the United States the same year. She has represented India in almost every tournament that the country has played. She was also part of the historic bronze medal winning team at the Junior World Cup in Germany in 2013 and the Olympic qualifying team last year. The Secretary General of Hockey India Md. Mushtaque Ahmad had this to say about Poonam’s landmark. “Hockey India is extremely delighted for Poonam’s achievement of 150 international matches. She has been an integral part of this historic Indian team and we wish her all the best for the future.”
India’s opening match against the hosts started with the Indians immediately forced on the backfoot as New Zealand attacked with speed right from the whistle. Forced to defend deep, India played the waiting game, as New Zealand kept them pressed back in their own half for a large portion of the first half, and they went into the break trailing the hosts 1-0. This was the final score.
India play Irleland next on April 5th. Sports fans will be hoping for a better performance.