New Delhi: India defenders VR Raghunath and Rupinder Pal Singh scored hat-tricks and shared seven goals between them to rack up a 9-1 win over hapless Bangladesh on Wednesday, while setting up a semi-final against hosts Malaysia in the 9th Asia Cup being played in Ipoh.
Both the Indian defenders converted three penalty corners (PC) each in India's dominating display that saw them scoring five goals in the first half and four in the second - despite rain that fell relentlessly throughout the 70 minutes. Bangladesh's consolation goal came in the final minute of the first half through their only penalty corner of the match.
Rupinder opened the scoring off India's first PC in the 3rd minute and then went on to convert two more short corners in the 19th and 61st minute. He, however, completed his hat-trick off a penalty stroke awarded in the 27th minute.
Making his debut in the tournament, Nikkin Thimmaih scored his first international goal in the 24th minute. Raghunath scored India's fourth and his first goal of the match in the 29th minute, after which Mohammad Mamunur beat star India goalkeeper PR Sreejesh on a PC to reduce the margin to 5-1 at half-time.
India began sluggishly in the second half but soon picked themselves up, thanks to a neat deflection by Malak Singh in the 47th minute off Mandeep Singh. The two-time Asia Cup winners scored three more goals in the last 23 minutes - all on penalty corners.
Raghunath (52nd and 60th) completed his hat-trick and Rupinder got his fourth penalty-corner conversion to finish the mauling.
India take on Malaysia in the second semi-final on Friday. In the first semi-final, Korea play Pakistan.