Australia’s men’s hockey team extended their Commonwealth Games supremacy with a 7-0 thrashing against India in the gold-medal match. From the get-go, the Kookaburras laid siege on the Indian goal, carving through their opponent’s high press. A blur of motion and dizzying intensity, they collected a flurry of penalty corners. Ace goalie PR Sreejesh helped keep out a few, but Blake Glovers pierced his resistance with a low-flying zipper. The floodgates were now open. Australia added six more to their tally- all via well-crafted field goals. They would’ve hit double figures if not for Sreejesh’s brilliance in goal.

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The win ensured Australia’s 7th successive gold in men’s hockey, dating back to hockey’s debut in the Kuala Lampur Games in 1998. Their undisputed dominance takes further gloss if we consider their showing in the summit clashes. In the seven finals played to date, they have a cumulative score of 33-2. The two conceded came in the 2002 gold-medal match against an intrepid Kiwi side. The legendary Jamie Dwyer hit a hattrick on the day as the Aussie pumped five past their neighbours.

The Kiwis also take credit for the lowest margin of defeat in the Commonwealth finals. Their 2-0 loss at Gold Coast- following a tight 2-1 defeat in the group stages- speaks of a stern test. Otherwise, it’s been a bagful of gleeful thrashings. Malaysia copped five in front of home fans in 1998, while Pakistan suffered a relatively modest 3-0 in Melbourne eight years on. But all pales to the beatings Indian stick wielders have had to endure at Aussie hands.

In the three finals they’ve contested (if we can call it that), the men in blue have let in 19 goals while scoring none. It began in the Delhi Games of 2010. In front of a partisan crowd at the Dhyan Chand Stadium, Dwyer & Co. did not give the home side a whiff. Quiet for the first 18 minutes, the levy broke when striker Jason Wilson opened the scoring. Pumping eight past India’s finest, it remains the highest margin of victory in Commonwealth men’s hockey finals.

Rajpal Singh, India’s captain on the day, is still at a loss to explain the ragging they received:

“To be honest, we are not prepared to lose by such a huge margin. It is difficult to point out what went wrong that day – it will be unfair to say our defence failed or our goalkeeper played poorly – I thought it was a collective failure of the team,” quotes Sportskeeda.

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Four years on, at Glasgow, the two met again. A Christopher Ciriello-inspired Australia cantered to a 4-0 win. Not quite as emphatic as the Delhi demolition but dominant nonetheless! After missing out on a finals berth in 2018, an impressive Indian side- perhaps the best since the 1990s- teased a fight under the Birmingham sun. It went downhill within minutes, and by halftime was every bit a Delhi revival act. Four nil down and clueless, one could feel Rajpal’s arm slide across Manpreet Singh’s shoulder. One shy of eight, it was as brutal as it was breathtaking.