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Pakistan, Australia on Course for Finals in Men's Field Hockey


Pakistan's field hockey team has survived a scare from archrival India, 3-2, to virtually assure itself a place in the finals of the Sultan Azlan Shah men's tournament in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Pakistan got out to a 3-0 lead by the 29th minute, but India was able to score twice in the second half. India's comeback faded in the final minutes, and Pakistan earned the victory. The Pakistanis are atop the seven-team standings with 13 points from five matches.

Earlier, Olympic champion Australia kept alive its hopes of reaching the finals with an 8-3 rout of South Africa. Australia has 11 points from five matches. Also Wednesday, New Zealand scored a 3-1 win over host country Malaysia.

The top two teams after league play advance to Sunday's finals. Many of these teams are fielding untested player combinations as they prepare their rosters for next year's field hockey World Cup in Germany.

India has booked its place in next year's tournament while Australia, New Zealand and South Africa hope to secure berths later this year in continental qualifying. Malaysia, South Korea, and Pakistan will compete later this year in World Cup qualifying.

Some information for this report provided by AP.