India played its first match of the Commonwealth Games, Kuala Lumpur, 1998 against Australia and the team faced some frustrating moments in the first half of the match. Before the Indian players could get into their usual rhythm, the Australian players made some quick moves and scored 3 goals within the first 26 minutes of the match. However, as the Indian coach, M.K. Kaushik made a good move by bringing the forwards in, India started to come back in the match. Dhanraj Pillay was playing a little behind the strikers in the match and was sending some good passes to the strikers. He was instrumental in India's first goal that was scored by Dilip Tirkey and he himself scored the second goal for his team to cut the deficit 2-3. It was a brilliant goal from Dhanraj Pillay and that encouraged the other Indian players a lot. However, India failed to maintain the momentum till the end and as the Australians scored another 2 goals, India lost the match 2-5 to Australia.
Though India lost the first match to Australia, Dhanraj Pillay did play well in the match and he played even better in the second match that India played against South Africa. Dhanraj took the main initiatives to beat South Africa by a margin of 2-1 in the match and the win brought confidence back in the Indian players' minds. It was this confidence that helped India to thrash the Wales team by a huge margin of 6-3. Dhanraj Pillay once again played well in the match and provided his team the first lead. India then gave a much better performance in the next match against Trinidad & Tobago and clinched a huge victory by a margin of 8-0. Dhanraj Pillay was one of the most successful players for India in the match, as he played with excellence to score goals. He also sent some wonderful defence-piercing passes to help the other Indian strikers score goals from them.
After getting three consecutive wins in the group level, India then met with the New Zealand team in the next match. India was required to win this match in order to reach the Semi-Final stage of the Commonwealth Games, Kuala Lumpur, 1998. The New Zealand team did well to get the first lead in the match within a few minutes after the match started and went ahead 1-0. However, they could not retain the lead for longer, as the Indians came back brilliantly in the match. Dhanraj Pillay led the come back along with the other players like Mohammed Riaz, Mukesh Kumar. He first helped Mohammed Riaz, Mukesh Kumar to score two goals for providing India a 2-1 lead in the match. Then, he himself scored a brilliant goal to increase the lead to 3-1 and India successfully retained the margin till the end of the match.
India played against Malaysia in the Semi-Final of the Commonwealth Games, Kuala Lumpur, 1998. India started the match on an attacking mode and the Indian strikers were putting a lot of pressure on the Malaysian defence right from the beginning of the match. Dhanraj Pillay was once again playing his best moves in the match to cause troubles for the Malaysian defenders and he was constantly darting into the circle. However, as the Indian players made too many mistakes in the first half of the match, the match remained goalless in the break. The scenario was the same in the second half of the match. Though the Indian players were dominating most of the exchanges in the half, their failure of converting the chances to goals kept them on the bay. Rather, The Malaysian team scored goal against the flow of the match and eventually won the match by 1-0 to enter the Final. The tournament remained as an example of bad performance by the Indians, even though they started the tournament on a high note by thrashing their opponents in the group matches. Dhanraj Pillay was also not that much happy with his performance in the tournament.
(Last Updated on : 11-11-2014)
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