Thursday, May 23, 2024

Australia men demolish India to win seventh Commonwealth Games hockey gold in a row

Birmingham — Australia cantered to their seventh successive Commonwealth Games men’s title with a ruthless display to beat India 7-0. Five goals in 18 spellbinding minutes from Colin Batch’s side underpinned their world No 1 status.

Victory also saw them to their 39th game won in a row at the Games to rubber stamp the Kookaburras as one of the most garlanded in any team sport. In truth (England semi-final apart), Australia were largely in third gear in Birmingham and saved their tournament hockey best for the final.

Their gold medal procession was a first-half demolition job as they led 5-0 after a superb team performance. In three of the last four finals, India have now shipped 19 goals without scoring.

Their first half rampage into Indian territory included one of the best goals of recent times, too. In contrast to their incredible goal at the 2018 World Cup from baseline to goal in the dying seconds, their second against India, missing midfielder Vivek Sagar Prasad through injury, was accrued by awareness, speed, rhythm and player telepathy.

Blake Govers celebates another penalty corner strike in Birmingham PIC: Worldsportpics

After Blake Govers had knocked in a routine penalty corner strike – in defence they didn’t concede a penalty corner goal through the whole tournament – Australia countered from within their 23m line.

At speed on the right, Josh Simmonds and Jake Harvie interchanged and ratcheted up the counter. With Kookaburras flying into the Indian circle, Simmonds found Flynn Ogilvie whose touch to goal was then made sure by rising star Nathan Ephraums. 

Eight minutes later, Anderson poked home after a circle scramble, and Tom Wickham deflected home before Anderson notched his second from a PR Sreejesh rebound and reverse cut into the net. 

Ephraums scored his second late in the third quarter and there was simply no let up. In cricket parlance, they should have declared. Instead, they continue to probe and mount up a relentless succession of circle attacks. An attacking barrage on the right early in the fourth left Ogilvie with a tap-in for the seventh.

The hooter signalled another authoritative statistic: the last time they conceded a goal in a Commonwealth final came five finals ago in 2022, while this latest onslaught confirmed them as favourites for the 2023 World Cup.

Total Hockey

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