IPOH: New Zealand stamped their class over Pakistan with a 5-3 win at the Azlan Shah Cup. Having drawn their first two matches, 3-3 against Malaysia and 1-1 against Canada, the win will give a boost to the defending champions in their quest to make the final next Saturday.
Pakistan were a pale shadow of a team that usually displays free flowing hockey.
New Zealand went on the offensive and forced a penalty corner in the 3rd minute. But Kane Russel’s attempt was palmed away by keeper Imran Butt.
Pakistan won their first penalty corner two minutes later but skipper Muhammad Irfan skied it.
However Pakistan took the lead in the 8th minute as Muhammad Arslan Qadir scored after a fine crross by Umar Bhutta.
It took the Black Sticks three minutes to equalise as Stephen Jenness ghosted in behind the defence to deflect a pass from Kane in the 11th minute.
Simon Child then put the Kiwis 2-1 ahead in the 19th minute, with a shot from the top of the semi circle that beat Imran all the way.
Pakistan were awarded five consecutive penalty corners in the 23rd minute and off the last one Ali Shaan sent a square pass to Muhammad Irfan Junior to tap into goal at the far post to make it level at 2-2.
Nic Woods converted a penalty corner in the 39th minute to regain the lead for the Black Sticks.
Woods was on target again in the 42nd minute before relaying a perfect pass to Kane Russel to bury home the fifth goal in the 44th minute.
Arslan got one back in the 52nd minute but it was a little too late to salvage anything from the match