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Black Sticks lose play-off match to India

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 6/05/2017

New Zealand have suffered a second heavy defeat at the hands of India to place fourth at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia.

The Black Sticks conceded two goals in each half of the bronze medal play-off to finish the six-nation tournament on a low note.

India were also the opponents in New Zealand's worst performance during the round-robin phase in Ipoh, when they lost 3-0.

India again controlled much of the play and scored twice in almost identical fashion through penalty corner drag-flick goals to Rupinder Singh in the first half.

New Zealand created chances in the second spell but couldn't finish.

The Indians had no such problem, scoring through Sunil Sowmarpet and Talwinder Singh in the final quarter.

Coach Darren Smith says he learned plenty from a campaign which featured three losses, two wins and a draw.

"We couldn't hold possession of the ball tonight and this made India even more of a threat," he said.

"For us to be effective against any team denying time, space and applying pressure is critical.

"We also need to ensure that our basic skills are sharp and we take sound options."

Great Britain beat nine-time champions Australia 4-3 in the final.

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