IPOH, Malaysia, April 15, (AFP): India cruised into the final of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup against world champions Australia by whipping Malaysia Friday, shattering New Zealand’s qualifying hopes.
The Indians created a host of goal scoring opportunities after attacking the home side from the start, resulting in a half-time score of 4-0 and leaving the hosts shell-shocked.
By the end India scored a 6-1 triumph over Malaysia and will play Australia on Saturday.
New Zealand, meanwhile, saw their chances for a repeat final encounter with arch rivals Australia blown away following India’s win.
The Black Sticks will now play Malaysia for the bronze medal.
Last year, New Zealand pulled off a massive upset against Australia. After both teams were tied 2-2 in regulation time, the Black Sticks prevailed 3-1 in the shootout to win the title.
Favourites Australia booked a spot in the final by emerging on top of the standings with 18 points from six successive wins, followed by India on 12 points.
India, however, have struggled for consistency. Except for a 5-1 victory over arch-rivals Pakistan, and beating Malaysia, they lost 1-2 to New Zealand on Wednesday.
Australia have dominated the tournament held in the northern state of Perak by having won all their league games in the lead up to the final.
Australia completed their final round-robin league competition with a 3-0 victory over Canada.
Meanwhile Pakistan consigned Japan to the bottom of the table with a comfortable 4-1 win in their final group match.
The win also ensured Pakistan qualified for the fifth place playoff with Canada Saturday.