KUALA LUMPUR: Nik Mohamed Aiman Nik Rozemi was the hat-trick star as Malaysia stunned world No.8 New Zealand 8-2 in the first hockey Test.
It was Malaysia’s biggest win over New Zealand. Both teams are preparing for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh from April 29-May 6.
National coach Stephen van Huizen refused to get overly excited, saying it was just a Test match.
“New Zeland only arrived on Saturday. They could have been a bit lethargic,” said Stephen.
“The difference today is that we took our chances well. It was a good effort. We are trying out all the players and this is the chance for the players to earn their spurs,’ he added.
New Zealand coach Darren Smith was unfazed by the big loss, but credited Malaysia for making good use of their chances.
“It was certainly not our best game. It’s a good lesson and one that the players have to learn from. I don’t think the long journey here affected the players,” said Smith.
Malaysia had a perfect start at the Tun Razak Stadium yesterday, grabbing a two-goal lead after only six minutes.
Nik Mohamed Aiman capitalised on a defensive lapse to open the floodgates in the third minute.
In the sixth minute, Malaysia earned their first penalty corner and Mohamed Razie Rahim scored with a drag flick.
George Muir then pulled a goal back for the Kiwis in the seventh minute off a field attempt.
But the Malaysians were in no mood to relax with Mohamed Ramadan Rosli scoring a field goal in the 28th minute to make it 3-1.
Malaysia earned their second penalty corner in the 29th minute and this time Faizal Saari scored with an easy drag flick.
The Kiwis, the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup champions in 2012 and 2015, were not their usual selves and it did not come as a surprise when Mohamed Haziq Shamsul scored Malaysia’s fifth goal in the 37th minute.
Nik Aiman was on target again with a field goal in the 42nd minute. He completed his hat-trick in the 49th minute.
Young defender Mohamed Najmi Jazlan also put his name on the scoresheet when he converted a penalty corner in the 45th minute for an 8-1 lead.
New Zealand, however, managed to reduce the deficit through Dominic Newman in the 48th minute.
Both teams will play their second Test at the same venue at 6pm today.