Madrid: Indian eves paid the penalty for their lethargic start as six-time champions Holland sneaked home 3-2 in the opening match of the women's field hockey World Cup on Wednesday.
Holland caught their rivals napping, pumping in two goals in the first half and then another early in the second half before the Indians woke up.
Surinder Kaur scored a brace to narrow the margin as India turned the heat on the last edition's runner up at Perth, but the horse had bolted by then.
EVES GET THE BLUES: Holland edged out the Indian eves 3-2 in their opener.
In fact, India could have snatched a point from the Orange team if only Deepika had made a clean hit after a collecting long pass on top of the circle in the 54th minute.
The referee allowed the goal but the television umpire over-ruled it after replays showed it came of the player's shoes.
The Indians were clearly outplayed in the first period and the initial phase of the second by the Dutch who caught them off guard with their pace and efficient stick work.
Maartje Paumen opened up the scoring for the Netherlands as early as in the third minute when she scored from a penalty corner.
Holland dominated ball possession and the action was very much restricted to the Indian half.
Sylvia Karres rode on the momentum to find the net in the 31st minute and double the lead.
The lead was tripled soon resumtion before the Indians pulled their socks up.
The Indian eves, led by Jyoti Kullu, had not had a shot at the Holland goal till then. And they had forced no penalty corner, of course.
But a slice of luck changed the complexion of the game. The Indians won their first penalty corner of the game in the 48th minute when television replays showed the referee might have erred in awarding it.
But it did not matter to Surinder Kaur who made a neat deflection of the shot.
Kullu's team then began to play with renewed vigour and suddenly they were finding gaps in the Dutch defence which had looked impregnable till then.
They changed the speed of the game and forced their rivals to play at their pace.
Then came Deepika's disallowed goal which showed the Dutch were merely focussing on survival.
But if any one expected a counter-attack from the world number one team, it never came. Less than four minutes to go, Kaur beat the Dutch goalie for her second goal.
The Indians, however, could not score that much wanted equaliser. India and Holland are placed in Pool 'A' with China, Germany, Spain and England.
Defending champions Argentina, Australia, South Africa, the USA, Japan and Korea are in Pool 'B'. Top two teams from each pool advance to the semi-finals.