ACT 2023: India Wants to Avoid Complacency Against Pakistan

Three-time champions India, who already have a spot in the semifinals secured, will seek to avoid getting comfortable when they face off against arch-rival Pakistan in the Asian Champions Trophy's pivotal final round-robin league game on Wednesday in Chennai. Both teams' overall performances in the competition thus far have been in stark contrast. While Pakistan has only managed one win, along with a few draws, and a loss, the hosts have gone undefeated in their four games thus far. The outcome of this crucial match will determine Pakistan's chances of making the semifinals.Pakistan's destiny will depend on the outcome of the match between China and Japan if they win, but if they lose, they won't be guaranteed a berth in the final four. They will hope that China surprises Japan if Pakistan loses on Wednesday. Japan should have a smaller margin of victory if it prevails.Along with Pakistan, the Men in Green would also like to see Malaysia defeat South Korea by a wide margin.India is in first place with 10 points after three victories and a tie. Malaysia is second with 9 points, followed by South Korea, Pakistan, Japan, China, and South Korea.India will undoubtedly start as the favourite on Wednesday, despite the fact that Pakistan and India have each won the championship three times. This is because of India's present rating and stature in the world.Pakistan lags well behind in the world rankings, coming in at number 16, while India is rated fourth.However, in a high-profile match between India and Pakistan, ranking is mostly irrelevant, and the outcome may ultimately depend on whether team can handle pressure the best.While Harmanpreet Singh and his team have been playing attacking hockey and have increased their short corner hit percentage, India will need to improve their defence before the tournament's final stretch."We still need to play defence and stop handing out stupid PCs. Singh had stated, "We need to tackle better inside and perform the majority of the tackling outside the box.After two games back-to-back, India and Pakistan will benefit greatly from a day of rest.The head coach of India, Craig Fulton, elaborated on the difficulties of scheduling games on successive days, saying: "It's a hindrance for every team in the event, because if you look the scores of the team playing the next day, they've mainly been draws.Consecutive games are a little more challenging to play, but today (Monday) was a little different. The work is difficult and tedious. You must be able to handle all of the shifting momentum that occurs in back-to-back games. Following a tight 2-1 victory over China that kept them in the running for a semifinal spot, Pakistan will be coming into the encounter against India on a high note.When facing the hosts, the team will need to improve on its finishing skills, which were considered to be lacking.Any Indo-Pak encounter is always intense, and the visitors will have to maintain their composure in front of an agitated Indian crowd.Pakistan's temporary head coach Muhammad Saqlain said, "We will need to teach our young lads (about handling the crowd pressure) who are playing here for the first time.""We can play good hockey if you can shut your ears and concentrate on the game. A wonderful accomplishment for Asian hockey would also result from both sides playing well. India would be competing with Malaysia for first place.However, there is a good likelihood that India and Pakistan will square off in the semifinal as the top-seeded team plays the team that finished in fourth place in the last four.The second-place team will face the third-place squad on Friday.

Aug 8, 2023 11:39 AM