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India need big win over Ireland to keep hopes alive in Azlan Shah

Press Trust of India  |  Ipoh (Malaysia) 

A young and inexperienced will be eyeing a big win over here tomorrow to keep alive their slim hopes of qualifying for the final of Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament and hope for favourable results in other matches.

After a below-par outing in the first three matches, rekindled their hopes by registering their first win of the tournament yesterday, mauling hosts 5-1.

Before the win, had earlier lost 2-3 to Olympic champions Argentina, 2-4 against world champions and drew 1-1 against England.

World champions are already through to the final with four wins from as many games but barring Ireland, all other four teams have a chance to make it to the summit clash.

are leading the points table with 12 points ahead of second-placed and Olympic champions (7 points), (6), England (5) and India (4). are already out of the race with four consecutive defeats.

But India's fate completely depends on lots of permutations and combinations. For India to qualify for the final, they will first have to beat by a big margin and hope Australia beat and the final round robin match between and England ends in a draw.

With four big-ticket events lined up this year, including and the Asian Games, the Indians have opted to field a young and inexperienced side under veteran

India wanted to test all his options before deciding on his squads for the big tournaments.

And as expected the Indians took time to get their game going in the tournament. Marijne's boys looked erratic in the first three games before dishing out their best display against Malaysia.

Agianst Malaysia, Shilanand Lakra, Gurjant Singh, and scored and Marijne would be hoping for the same spark from his forwards tomorrow.

especially need to produce an inspiring performance as an ordinary show in the tournament could well draw the curtains on his illustrious career.

This could well be make or break tournament for Sardar if he wants to prolong his career till as the team management have already shown their interest on younger legs keeping the busy year in mind.

India play their match second tomorrow and by then they would be in a position to learn their fate as Australia and square off in the day's opener.

England and Malaysia will lock horns in the final round robin match tomorrow.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, March 08 2018. 14:40 IST