The New Zealand men's hockey team thumped Poland overnight (NZT) to progress unbeaten into the quarter-finals at the Champions Challenge in Malaysia.
With previous wins over Ireland (2-1) and Japan (6-1), the 8-3 win over Poland saw the Kiwis finish atop pool A with three wins from three games. The Black Sticks now face a quarter-final clash against hosts Malaysia, who finished last in pool B, at on Thursday evening (NZT).
Striker Simon Child earned himself man of the match honours against Poland thanks to a hat-trick of goals, with two field strikes and one penalty corner conversion.
The Black Sticks were in control from the opening whistle against a tired Polish side, leading 4-0 at halftime after goals from Child, Stephen Jenness and a double from Andy Hayward.
New Zealand poured on another four goals in the second half thanks to another two strikes from Child, Blair Hilton and Hugo Inglis.
Head coach Colin Batch said it was important to go into a tough quarter-final game against Malaysia with some momentum.
"It was a good performance from the team,'' he said. "We led 8-0 until late in the game and lost a bit of concentration but on the whole a good effort.
"Malaysia will be tough opponent, they have been playing below their normal level at this tournament but have shown signs of improvement.
"They won their last game but finished bottom of their pool so they will be dangerous. They are a World Cup team so that is good preparation for us as well.''
The other quarter-final matches feature Ireland facing France, Korea tackling Japan and Canada taking on Poland. The Champions Challenge doubles as a qualifier for the 2016 Champions Trophy ,with the winner earning an automatic berth.
Black Sticks 8 (Child 3, Hayward 2, Jenness, Hilton, Inglis)
Poland 3 (Gorny, Makowski 2)