6 Apr 2015

Black Sticks open Sultan Azlan Shah Cup with victory

9:36 am on 6 April 2015

The New Zealand men's hockey team have defeated hosts Malaysia 4-2 at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.

Black Sticks on the charge led by captain Simon Child

The Black Sticks in full flight Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Black Sticks started strongly and dominated the first quarter, leading 2-0 after 10 minutes with a penalty corner strike to Nick Haig and cracking field goal from captain Simon Child.

Malaysia pulled one back to go into half-time down by one goal, before Sharun Nabil delivered an equaliser with seven minutes remaining in the match.

The New Zealanders weren't about to let the game slip though and poured on the pressure to seal the result with two late goals.

Defender Andy Hayward put the Black Sticks up 3-2 with a penalty corner drag flick and striker Shay Neal put it beyond doubt with a field goal in the final minute.

Head coach Colin Batch says it's a good result against Malaysia, who are always tough to beat on their home turf.

"It's an excellent start to the tournament, we know we have areas to work on but we showed a lot of resilience to score late and secure the win," Batch says.

"We put together some good finishing and defended well under pressure during some anxious moments in the third quarter. We look forward to another tough challenge against India."

On Sunday the Black Sticks women lost 1-0 to Japan in Auckland, a day after beating South Korea 3-2.