|February 24th, 2013|
|15||Round Robin||6:00pm||RUS - IND||0 - 1 (0 - 0)||Final|
Rani saved her best for last as she fired home the only goal of India’s win over Russia, a goal that saw her side claim top spot from the women’s Hero Hockey World League Round Two 2013 in Delhi.
It was a thing of beauty, jinking away from two defenders to find daylight in a packed circle and smashing through the otherwise impenetrable defences of Russia goalkeeper Oxana Serezhkina. It came in the 51st minute after India had peppered the Russian goal but found the route through incredibly tough to find.
In the first half, Jaspreet Kaur drew a superb save from a penalty corner won 75 seconds in and the likes of Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Rani and Anupa Barla also saw their shots batted away. Olesya Petrova had to take one off the line, too, amid a melee.
In response, Russia sporadically threatened, winning a couple of corners late in the second half to show they still carried an interest in the tie. Rani, though, eventually sealed their nerves 19 minutes from the end and she went close to extending the lead soon after.
Again, Russia had intentions of spoiling the party with Maria Nikitina’s sliding shot skipping by the far post while Yogita Bali did brilliantly to block Ekaterina Shaburova’s shot. But India deservedly held on to move up to 13 points, tied with Japan but took the title by virtue of having won mores games.
And they also landed the major tournament prizes. Rani was the top-scorer with seven to her name while Jaspreet Kaur was the overall best defender and player of the week.
Fiji’s Susan Mudunatagi was honoured as goalkeeper of the tournament while Japanese veteran Sachimi Iwao was top midfielder and Malaysia’s Siti Rahmah Othman the best attacker.