Hockey: India's Top Five Victories Over Pakistan
India and Pakistan players in action during a hockey match. (Getty Images)
India’s recent 3-2 win over Pakistan in the Asian Champions Trophy hockey tournament comes at a time when political tension between the two neighbours is at its height.
Just like cricket, the intensity of an India-Pakistan hockey match is very high. Tension is palpable and the adrenaline is high both amongst the players as well as the fans.
While Pakistan does hold the edge in the overall head to head between the two teams, India have had some memorable wins over the years.
Here’s a refresher on India’s top 5 wins over Pakistan in field hockey.
1) 1956 Summer Olympics Final: India beat Pakistan 1-0
The Indian team under the leadership of Balbir Singh Sr reached the final of the 1956 Melbourne Olympics without conceding a single goal. In the final they met arch rivals Pakistan. What made the occasion special was that this was the first ever meeting between the two neighbours post independence from British rule. Randhir Singh Gentle scored from a short corner in the 38th minute and India held on to the lead to win their sixth consecutive hockey gold.
2) 1964 Summer Olympics Final: India beat Pakistan 1-0
India’s supremacy in hockey was was snatched in the 1960 Rome Olympics final by Pakistan as they dethroned their neighbours to win the hockey Gold. India was anxious for revenge and went into the Tokyo Olympics looking to regain the yellow metal again. The two rivals met in the final yet again, this time on a cold afternoon in Tokyo’s Kamazawa Park. A pacy first-half resulted in no goals and the match took an ugly turn as players from both the teams got involved in some heated exchange. India won a penalty corner 5 minutes into the second half and Prithipal Singh’s scorching hit was deflected by the Pakistani goalkeeper to his own defender Munir Dar’s foot. India’s Mohinder Lal converted from the resultant penalty stroke to give India the winning goal.
3) 1975 World Cup Final: India beat Pakistan 2-1
Pakistan had already taken over as the numero uno in hockey after winning the inaugural World Cup in 1971. But India were determined to keep their status as the top dogs intact and under Ajitpal Singh’s leadership the team went to Malaysia in search of the world title. After a narrow win over Malaysia in the semis, India took on Pakistan in the final. Zahid Sheikh had put Pakistan in front in the first half, but Surjit Singh converted a penalty corner in the second-half to restore parity. The match then saw its most controversial moment turn into the deciding moment as Indian forward Ashok Kumar’s shot hit the post and bounced back. The Indians celebrated while the Pakistanis protested. The umpire deemed that the ball had crossed the goal-line and it turned out to be the winner. Ashok Kumar, son of India’s greatest hockey player Dhyanchand, became the toast of the nation.
4) 2003 Champions Trophy: India beat Pakistan 7-4
After two decades of mediocrity in hockey, India finally had a team that had the makings of a champion side in the early 2000s as a bunch of youngsters brought in a fresh wave. And it was on witness during the Champions Trophy in Amstelveen in Netherlands as the Indian team staged one of the best comeback wins in its history. The men in blue were trailing 2-4 with just about 20 minutes to go in the match. The Indian frontline comprising of the Punjab trio of Deepak Thakur, Prabhjot Singh and Gagan Ajit Singh went on a rampage. Deepak Thakur reduced the margin before Prabhjot equalized. Gagan Ajit Singh then scored twice, one with an amazing backswing of his stick which gave India a bumper victory.
5) 2010 Commonwealth Games Final: India beat Pakistan 7-4
The 2010 Commonwealth Games was a chance for the Indian hockey team to showcase their class at home and they did just that. The group match between India and Pakistan became a virtual quarter–final as the winner would go through to the semis. Pakistan though needed just a draw to progress due to a better goal difference. Buoyed by the backing of a partisan crowd at the Major Dhyanchand National Stadium in Delhi, the Indian team went up 4-0 in the first 20 minutes with Sandeep Singh scoring a brace from the penalty-corners. Pakistan made it 4-2 before half-time to make the second half interesting. India though made it 7-2 soon in the second half with Danish Mujtaba, Dharamvir Singh and Shivendra scoring again. Pakistan scored twice but the match and the night belonged to India. It was seen by many as a revenge for the 1-7 loss at home to Pakistan in the 1982 Asian Games Final at the same venue.
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