Black Sticks punish Pakistan at Sultan Azlan Shah Cup

Nick Woods scored twice for the Black Sticks against Pakistan. Photo / Andrew Warner.
Nick Woods scored twice for the Black Sticks against Pakistan. Photo / Andrew Warner.

The Black Sticks Men have beaten Pakistan 5-3 to remain undefeated at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia.

With the score tied 2-2 at halftime, a brilliant period of play late in the third quarter saw New Zealand score three times in five minutes.

Nic Woods scored a double from penalty corner drag flicks and took out the Man of the Match award while Stephen Jenness, Simon Child and Kane Russell filled out the stat sheet.

The result sees the defending champion Black Sticks well in contention at the tournament with one win and two draws.

Head coach Colin Batch said it was pleasing to come away with a win following two close draws against Malaysia and Canada.

"We continue to create a lot of chances and our penalty corner conversion was much better today scoring three of six which made a huge difference," he said.

"It's great to get the win and some valuable points but we now have to back that up and consolidate our quality of play for the next game.

"We are looking to carry our momentum forward and get another good result against Japan tomorrow which will put us in an ok spot at the tournament."

Pakistan were first to strike when Muhammad Qadir found his way past goalkeeper Kyle Pontifex in the eighth minute.

The Black Sticks responded three minutes later when George Muir took a quick free hit and found Jenness for a diving deflection.

New Zealand extended their lead in the 19th minute thanks to a brilliant solo run by Child who finished with a strong reverse stick shot from the top of the circle.

Pakistan equalised once more following a series of penalty corners with Muhammad Irfan Jr. pouncing on an aerial defection to tap into goal.

The Black Sticks poured on the pressure in the third quarter and finally the floodgates opened from their penalty corner opportunities.

Woods delivered in the 39th minute with a drag flick that went low and right before scoring his double just three minutes later with another penalty corner flick, this time into the top of the net.

Russell added another at the end of the quarter after a slick penalty corner variation left him unmarked for a strong flick through the keeper's legs.

Pakistan pulled one goal back through Qadir eight minutes from fulltime but the Kiwis held on in defence to secure the victory and all three tournament points.

The Black Sticks are back in action tomorrow against Japan at 8pm (NZ time), with live coverage on SKY Sport 4.

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