KUALA LUMPUR: The women’s hockey team lived up to expectations by trouncing Singapore 12-0 in the FIH Series Finals at Banbridge, Ireland on Sunday evening (midnight in Malaysia).
Veteran defender Nuraini Rashid scored a hat trick as the 30-year-old penalty corner expert converted three penalty corners in 12th, 28th and 35th minutes in the Pool A match played in rainy 13 degree Celsius weather.
The Malaysian Tigress, ranked 22nd in the world, opened the score through Hanis Nadia Onn’s field goal in the ninth minute, as Surizan Awang Noh (19’) and Kirandeep Kaur (21’) also hit the back of the net in the first half.
Coach Muhammad Dharma Raj Abdullah’s squad continued their goal feast against the world number 35, Singapore in the second half as the goal avalanche continued through Nurmaizatulhanim Syafi (39’), Siti Zulaikha Husain (42’ and 47’), Fazilla Sylvester Silin (44’) and Wan Norfaiezah Saiuti (51’).
Defender Raja Norsharina Raja Shabuddin concluded the double digit celebration by netting a penalty corner in the final seconds of the match to secure full points, to stay second in the group behind hosts Ireland.
With the win, Malaysia are almost certain to confirm their place to the knockout phase of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Qualifiers, unless Singapore created an upset to defeat Ireland in the last Pool A fixture in Tuesday.
Malaysia started off the campaign with a praiseworthy performance to escape with a narrow defeat of 2-1 to world number eight, Ireland on Saturday.
In the final round robin fixture, the Malaysian Tigress are set to face world number 19, Czech Republic on Tuesday, where the group topper will be through to the semifinals, while second and third placed teams will advance to the knockout phase.