Melbourne: India got a step closer to the quarterfinals by beating world No.6 New Zealand 4-2 in a Pool A match of the 34th edition of the FIH Champions Trophy hockey here Sunday.
Having already beaten England (3-1) Saturday, India sit pretty atop Pool A and are the only team in the eight-team competition to have won both their matches.
India continued to be the surprise team as they are lowest ranked (11) in the nine-day tournament.
The last game of the day started poorly for India as they scored an own goal early into the match to give New Zealand a 1-0 lead. But the eight-time Olympic champions were quick to atone for the mistake, firing in two consecutive goals within a four-minute span to move ahead with a 2-1 lead.
Akashdeep Singh netted the first goal and Gurwinder Singh Chani followed up by popping the ball between the legs of New Zealand goalie Devon Manchester in the 14th minute.
India built on their lead with 10 minutes left in the half when V.R. Raghunath deflected in a penalty corner to notch up a 3-1 advantage.
New Zealand, wasting no time, fought back in the second-half. Nicholas Wilson fired in a shot from point-blank range just two minutes after resumption to make it 3-2.
But that was the last of the New Zealand fight-back.
India then dominated the second half but found a tough challenge in Manchester who stood his ground in the New Zealand goal keeping the Indians from building on their lead for most of the 35 minutes.
It wasn't until the 65th minute that India could breathe easy when Danish Mujtaba deflected in the critical 4-2 marker, sealing India's second win.
India next face a tough hurdle against London Olympic champions and World No.1 Germany Tuesday. A win will guarantee them a place in the quarterfinals while a loss or draw will put India in a tight situation and their progress will depend on the result of the other Pool match.