Hangzhou, Sep 29 (IANS): The Indian Men's Hockey Team has displayed their top form at the ongoing 19th Asian Games Hangzhou 2022, picking up three wins in three games so far.
While India began the contest with a 16-0 win over Uzbekistan in the Pool A match, the side led by Captain Harmanpreet Singh followed it up with a 16-1 win over Singapore.
On Thursday, India faced their toughest challenge of the campaign against the 2018 Asian Games Gold medalist Japan and came out of the contest with a 4-2 win to keep their winning streak intact.
Now, on Saturday, India will take on their neighbouring rivals Pakistan in a crucial contest and will hope to add another win to their record.
Pakistan Team, like India, is also having a good run, having won all three games they have played so far. Pakistan began their campaign with an 11-0 win over Singapore and then went on to record a 5-2 win over Bangladesh and an 18-2 win over Uzbekistan.
Speaking about the upcoming game, India captain Harmanpreet Singh stated that the team has learned valuable lessons from their matches thus far in the tournament, which will come in handy against Pakistan.
"It has been a good start for us in the tournament so far, but the most important aspect so far is that with each opponent, we have learnt new things about our gameplay and about how we can improve our game. We have remained unbeaten, which gives us confidence going into our game against Pakistan that we are in good shape and rhythm, and now it is just about maintaining the momentum and implementing the lessons that we are learning every day," he said.
Pakistan have also been unbeaten so far in the tournament, beating Singapore 11-0 in their first match, and then picking up a 5-2 win over Bangladesh in their second game. Pakistan beat Uzbekistan 18-2 in their third Pool A game on Thursday.
Harmanpreet also opened up on the mood in the dressing room ahead of the Pakistan clash and said that the team is eager to continue their winning run in Hangzhou.
"There is always excitement in the dressing room whenever there is a match against Pakistan. The fans are always the loudest and make their voices heard. Pakistan have a solid team that has been doing really well, so we know we also have to be at our best against them to get a win. We are motivated by the results so far and we are eager to maintain our winning streak in the tournament," he said.
The two teams last met in the Pool match at the Hero Asian Champions Trophy Chennai 2023 in August, where India won the match 4-0. Since 2013, India and Pakistan have faced each other 24 times, in which India have won 16 times, while Pakistan have won 5 times, and three games ended in a draw.
Chief Coach Craig Fulton said: "We have shown some tremendous progress in the first three games and we are happy with our performance. Of course, there are always some improvements that can be made, and it will be critical that we work on those ahead of the match against a strong team like Pakistan, which is also having a good tournament. We know what our goals are and are confident that we will achieve them on Saturday."