*Great Britain destroy Australia with 5-1 win to remain unbeaten
Harmanpreet Singh fired a hattrick as India destroyed Malaysia 4-2 and inch their way to their third successive final in four years in the Sultan of Johor Cup Under-21 Invitational tournament at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium in Johor Bahru on Thursday.
With the defeat Malaysia remained winless in the six-nation tournament and have only one point to show after four matches froma 1-1 draw against New New Zealand.
In other matches Great Britain, hailed as the tournament favourites this year, continued with their winning ways with a 5-1 whitewash of Australia while New Zealand sealed their first win with a 3-2 win over Pakistan, who are also winless.
India, who lost to Great Britain 2-0 in their only defeat so far, showed that they are not ready to surrender their title they won last year with a 3-0 win over Malaysia in the final, need only a draw against Australia on Saturday in their last preliminary round robin match.
Two quick goals in the 25th and 27th minute from penalty corner set pieces by Harmanpreet put India ahead but Malaysia made hit a purple patch to draw level with field attempts by Sufi Ismat Rohulamin (37th) and Azril Misron (42nd) to give the Indian a rough time. Was an upset on the cards?
It was not to be as Harmanpreet completed his hattrick from another penalty corner set piece on 55 minutes before Varun Kumar completed the rout with a penalty stroke conversion for a comfortable win and break the hearts of the Malaysians.
Britain also had a hattrick hero in Luke Taylor – with two of goals coming via penalty corners and one from a penalty stroke. The others who got their name into the scoresheet for Britain were Hamish Imrie and James Albery.
New Zealand, who surrendered a comfortable 3-0 lead Australia and eventually lost 4-3 on Wednesday, edged Pakistan for their first win and put themselves in line for a third place finish.
Harry Miskimmnim, Nick Woods and Graig Jones scored for the Kiwis while Abu Mahmood scored a brace for Pakistan.
RESULTS (Thursday 16 Oct)
INDIA 4 MALAYSIA 2
.N.ZEALAND 3 PAKISTAN 2
G.BRITAIN 5 AUSTRALIA 1
P W D L F A Pts
G.BRITAIN 4 4 0 0 15 3 12
INDIA 4 3 0 1 12 5 9
AUSTRALIA 4 2 1 1 8 10 7
NEW ZEALAND 4 1 1 2 8 9 4
MALAYSIA 4 0 1 3 6 10 1
PAKISTAN 4 0 1 3 3 15 1
FRIDAY (REST DAY)
SATURDAY (OCT 18)
AUSTRALIA vs INDIA (4pm)
PAKISTAN vs MALAYSIA (6pm)
NEW ZEALAND vs G.BRITAIN (8pm)
(All matches at Taman Daya Hockey Stadium, Johor Bahru)