New Delhi: India held New Zealand 3-3 in their last preliminary match of the second-leg Women Four Nation Hockey Tournament in Pakuranga, Auckland on Saturday.
The scorers for India were strikers Rani, Vandana Katariya and Chanchan Devi Thokchom while Katie Glynn, Cathryn Finlayson and Krystal Forgesson were on target for New Zealand who led 2-1 at half time.
The Kiwis started aggressively and went two up in 10 minutes with strikes by Glynn and Finlayson, but India bounced back by holding sway for most of the match.
India not only wiped off the deficit but went into the lead in the second half only to concede the equaliser in the 66th minute.
Defenders Joydeep Kaur and Kirandeep Kaur failed to block the initial New Zealand onslaughts, which led to the first two goals, even as Indian forward Rani blew away a couple of chances in the Kiwi striking circle.
However Rani made amends in the 15th minute as her scorcher from atop the circle convincingly beat the New Zealand goalkeeper.
India continued mounting pressure on their rivals after the break and drew level with Vandana Katariya deflecting home a penetrative manoeuvre by midfielder Asunta Lakra in the 55th minute.
India broke into the lead in the next minute with Chanchan Devi Thokchom slamming a rebound past the New Zealand goalkeeper.
They could however not hold on to the lead as New Zealand forced a turnaround in the 66th minute after Ritu Rani was dispossessed and Forgesson beat Indian goalkeeper Yogita Bali with a clinical sweep shot to draw the match.
India will now face USA on Sunday in the third-place playoff, while New Zealand take on Tasman neighbours Australia for the title.