In a thrilling semifinal encounter, the Indian women's hockey team showcased remarkable resilience by overcoming a goal deficit twice to triumph over South Africa 6-3, securing their place in the final of the FIH Hockey 5s Women's World Cup 2024.
Facing a tough challenge, India managed to level the scores at 2-2 by halftime after falling behind twice. Akshata Abaso Dhekale's field goal in the seventh minute equalized the score, countering South Africa's early lead by Teshawn De La Rey in the fifth minute. Toni Marks restored South Africa's lead in the eighth minute, but Mariana Kujur swiftly responded, making it 2-2 in the 11th minute.
In the second half, the Indian women's team dominated the match, scoring four goals in rapid succession to secure a convincing victory. Mumtaz Khan found the net in the 21st minute, giving India a 3-2 lead. Rutaja Dadaso Pisal extended the lead to 4-2 just two minutes later. Jyoti Chhetri (25th min) and Ajmina Kujur (26th min) scored in quick succession, putting the match out of reach for South Africa.
Although Chamberlain Dirkie scored for South Africa in the 29th minute to narrow the margin, it proved to be too little and too late. The Indian team emerged triumphant with a final score of 6-3.
India will now face the Netherlands in the final, scheduled to be played at 21:50 IST on Saturday. The Netherlands secured their spot in the final by defeating Poland 3-1 in the other semifinal. The stage is set for an exciting clash as India aims to clinch the FIH Hockey 5s Women's World Cup title.
(With Agency Inputs)