Hockey: Mahmood hat-trick fires Pakistan past Black Sticks

Blacksticks captain Arun Panchia talks to the team before the start of play. Photo / Photosport
Blacksticks captain Arun Panchia talks to the team before the start of play. Photo / Photosport

A hat-trick from Pakistan drag flicker Abu Mahmood has seen his side overcome the Vantage Black Sticks Men 4-2 in the third test in Wellington.

Pakistan played with a raised intensity following Saturday night's 2-2 draw, with a glut of penalty corner attempts proving too much for the Kiwis to stop.

Holding a 1-0 lead at halftime, Pakistan charged ahead with Mahmood delivering three second half flicks past the New Zealand penalty corner defence.

Head coach Darren Smith said while it was a disappointing result, it was a good learning experience for many of the younger players.

"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.

"We've got a high quality group of boys here and some of them are playing their first internationals and are doing a good job. We need to do better and we'll move on to Wairarapa now with plenty of motivation."

Pakistan seized the momentum early in the match and were first to score thanks to a penalty corner strike from Abdul Haseem Khan in the sixth minute.

Carrying a one goal lead into halftime, Pakistan doubled their advantage just minutes after the break when Mahmood slammed a drag flick low and into the side of the goal.

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

The Black Sticks responded in the 45th minute with Cory Bennett ripping home a penalty corner flick.

Mahmood scored his third with a 53rd minute strike before Stephen Jenness send home an absolute screamer with an upright reverse right on the stroke of fulltime.

With the series locked up at 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.

- NZ Herald

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