Confident India take on China in final, aim second title

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> India would look to cap their dream run in the Women's Asia Cup tournament by clinching the title when they clash with China in the summit clash on Sunday.

Updated: November 07, 2009 14:20 IST
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Bangkok :

A World Cup berth already in their pocket, a confident and unconquered India would look to cap their dream run in the Women's Asia Cup hockey tournament by clinching the title when they clash with China in the summit clash here on Sunday.

India stunned three-time champions South Korea 3-2 in the semifinal on Friday to secure a place in next year's World Cup to be held in Argentina.

Last time India won the winners trophy in this tournament was in 2004 when they beat Japan at home.

MK Kaushik's wards would also get another chance to beat China for the first time in history of this tournament besides avenging their 2-4 semifinal loss to the same opponents in the 2007 edition.

Going by the credentials, China, at number three, are 11 places above India in the FIH world rankings but as had been seen in the drawn group match, Kaushik's wards would fancy to beat their northern neighbours at Queen Sikirt Sports centre.

Kaushik said though beating China is no mean task, his team had the potential to emerge victorious.

"Our girls are talented, they deserved the ultimate honour here. I have asked them to go all out. China are tactically strong, they can trouble us. Unless my girls give one hundred per cent, we can't come out winners. My players will deliver, I believe in their caliber," Kaushik said.

He said his wards will have to be vigilant of the two areas on which the Chinese are known for - fast counter attacks and penalty corners.

"China are good at counter attacks, forwards are opportunistic and good inside the circle. So, we have to be cautious, then nothing can stop us from getting the gold," Kaushik said.

Goalkeeper Dipika Murthy said after beating tougher teams her side should not be overawed by the Chinese reputation.

"After defeating Korea which is a better team than China, we are confident of a good result in the final. We are ready to face the best in the Asia," said Dipika.

"We were not sure of playing that well against China in the league stage. The draw (1-1) has given us enormous confidence. Now that we have beaten Korea, our morale is very high," said Dipkia said after the team's warm up session.

Dipika, who thwarted a couple of Korean attacks in the closing stages yesterday, agreed with her coach that key would be to avoid conceding penalty corners tomorrow.

"Their fullback Ma Yi Bo is good at penalty corners, but their forwards are hungry inside the circle. Not just goalkeeping the whole defence has to combine well and I am sure we will win," Dipika who will play her first Asia Cup final, said.

The good news in the Indian camp is that all the players are without injuries and Kaushik will be able to field his best players.

"Nobody is carrying any injury. The team is on optimum fitness level. We managed the hydration part well," Dr. Vikas Dhawan, physio of the team, said.

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