Hat-trick hero Mahmood fires Pakistan to 4-2 win over Kiwis

Pakistan Hockey
Pakistan were impressive throughout the series, especially through the defensive midfield area. — AFP/File

Hat-trick hero Abu Mahmood fired Pakistan to a 4-2 win against New Zealand’s Vantage Black Sticks Men in the third test in Wellington on Monday.

The Green Shirts reacted to Saturday’s 2-2 draw, playing with higher-intensity forcing a series of penalty corners which proved too much for the Kiwis.

Leading 1-0 at half-time, Pakistan charged ahead with drag-flicker Mahmood driving in three second half flicks past the Black Caps’ penalty corner defense.

The losing side’s head coach Darren Smith gave credit to Pakistan’s skillful show and admitted it was hard to stop the in-form visitors.

“We started pretty well but got caught in the second and third quarters. Pakistan’s basic skills were very good and they scored some nice corners,” he said.

“At time we found it hard to find our passes and structure and were ineffective going forward but when we were down we actually played some really good hockey.

Pakistan gained lead early in the match thanks to a penalty corner strike from Abdul Haseem Khan on the sixth minute mark.

The visitors doubled their advantage minutes after the break when Mahmood slammed a drag flick low and into the side of the goal.

Mahmood doubled his tally in the 35th minute with almost an instant replay of his first goal, following another penalty corner.

The hosts responded in the 45th minute with Cory Bennett scoring from a penalty corner flick.

Mahmood sealed his hat-trick with a 53rd minute strike before Stephen Jenness sent home an absolute screamer with an upright reverse right on the stroke of fulltime.

With the series leveled 1-1, the Vantage Black Sticks and Pakistan now head to Wairarapa for the fourth and fifth tests on 22nd and 23rd March at Trust House Hockey Wairarapa in Clareville.