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Rani hat-tricks New Zealand in the tour opener (5/15/2010)
--s2h team
A hat trick by striker Rani Rampal enabled India to beat New Zealand in the first Test at the Endeavour Trust Twin Turfs in Palmerston North today.

India led 2-1 at half time as both sides attempted to play structured attacking hockey which resulted in a very tight game.

New Zealand created the best opportunities early, winning a penalty corner in the first minute which they failed to convert. Unforced errors then crept into the Black Sticks game, allowing India to take more control of the match.

undefined India’s strike power up front created a number of opportunities in the first half and with strong finishing scored two fantastic goals from Rani Rampal in the 18th and 20th minutes which took India to a 2 – 0 lead.

The Black Sticks lifted their intensity late in the first half while trying to get back in the match. With two minutes remaining before half time a Sam Harrison deflection got New Zealand back into the match, and took the halftime score to 2-1

The second half started with both teams trying to hold possession better and make fewer errors than they did in the first half. On the 46th minute mark India won their first penalty corner of the half, which Rani Rampal managed to deflect in expertly and finish off her hat trick for the match.

India then took a strangle hold on the match, not giving the New Zealand women the opportunity to have any possession of the ball and forcing them into their own half as often as possible. The Black Sticks pushed more players forward in an attempt to get back within reaching distance, and the attacking mentality worked, with Sam Harrison scoring her second in a goal mouth tussle in the 61st minute.

The Kiwis had a number of late opportunities, including a last minute penalty corner to tie up the match, but India defended very well and managed to maintain their one goal lead until the final whistle.

The second game of the five match series will be played on Sunday again at the same venue.

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