Pakistan and India played out a thrilling 1-1 draw in the men's draw of the International Super Series hockey, here on Friday in a game full of chances for both sides.
In a thrilling showcase of the potential of the new format, the rivals played at a frenetic pace. India dominated for the most part, but Pakistan missed a golden opportunity to seal the win as the respective goalkeepers produced a host of superb saves.
With three minutes to go and India down a man after a green card offence, Pakistan won a penalty face-off, but Indian custodian Bharat Chetri blocked the shot.
India dominated the first half and attacked constantly. Pakistan goalkeeper Imran Shah had to make two brilliant saves to deny the Indians the lead in the first 10 minutes.
Pakistan takes lead
Pakistan took the lead on one of its rare forward sorties, Waseem Ahmed giving it the upper hand in the 12th minute from a tight angle.
However, it lasted less than 60 seconds with Ravi Pal equalising with a diving reverse stick shot.
Meanwhile, Australia men made it two wins from as many matches by thrashing New Zealand 7-1.
Meanwhile, the Indian women's team got its act together after being on the back foot in the first-half to force a 1-1 draw against Australia. Star forward Ashleigh Nelson put Australia ahead in the 10th minute before her Indian counterpart Y. Soundarya cancelled it out just five minutes before the hooter. Vandana Kataria tore through the Australian defence to enter the top of the circle and quickly push the ball to Soundarya, who was waiting at the far corner of the goal-cage.
India, which lost its last match 0-5 to the hosts last Saturday, can derive a lot of satisfaction in the end result even though they did not inspire much confidence in the first-half. In fact, the Indians were lucky to concede just a solitary goal in the first-half, during which Australia mounted several attacks on the visiting team's goal.
The Australians just could not get the finishing right and were also denied by the Indian goalkeeper Yogita Bali's brilliance under the bar. Australia earned six penalty corners in the first-half, indicative of its dominance during that period of play.
India replaced an injured Jasjeet Kaur Handa with Soundarya midway through the first-half, but even that did not have much impact on an attacking Australia. However, India managed to avoid defeat through Soundarya's strike after an improved performance in the second-half.