Singapore eye upset against Nations Cup leaders Cook Islands
Milicich's side beat Malaysia yesterday for second win; now want scalp of Nations Cup leaders
The Singapore netball team are targeting an upset in their final round-robin match against Mission Foods Nations Cup leaders Cook Islands, after defeating Malaysia 61-35 yesterday.
Following a solid display at the OCBC Arena against world No. 20 Malaysia, who sent a largely Under-19 side, Singapore coach Natalie Milicich said she was impressed by the team's consistency and sharpness.
This is the Republic's (world No. 19) second straight win in the six-team tournament, having beaten Hong Kong 44-37 on Tuesday to snap an opening sequence of two consecutive losses.
The 50-year-old New Zealander said: "We had four good quarters today and it was an opportunity to get all our players on in preparation for our last (group) match in two days' time.
"We want to cause an upset. We'd like to think we can go out there, beat them and make them work hard for it. That's our goal."
Milicich, though, is well aware of what her team will be up against.
Cook Islands, undefeated in the competition, do not have a ranking having lost theirs due to a lack of games. They have a maximum eight points from four wins, ahead of second-placed Ireland (world No. 22), who are two points behind after three wins in four games.
Swaziland are also on six points, but are third behind Ireland by virtue of goal average.
Last night's victory places Singapore fourth in the standings, ahead of Hong Kong (5th) and Malaysia (last), who are both winless.
The hosts are already guaranteed a spot in the third/fourth placing match on Saturday, but a win over Cook Islands tomorrow may see them enter the weekend encounter as the third-placed team.
We want to cause an upset (against Cook Islands). We'd like to think we can go out there and beat them.Singapore netball coach Natalie Milicich
Meanwhile, Malaysia coach Choo Kon Lee has a different goal for her young squad, which comprises just one player from the victorious 2017 SEA Games line-up - 17-year-old Karishma S. Loganathan.
Choo said: "The objective of coming into the Nations Cup was to give the players exposure because most of the girls are below 21.
"Winning may be a bonus, but if we lose, it should be with grace, and not by too much. But, each game, these girls are becoming better and better.
She added: "Against Singapore, we were a little bit down as compared to the past few days.
"They played very well before this, but maybe the intensity of today's game got to them. Hopefully, after tomorrow's rest day, we'll come back stronger for Hong Kong - the only team we need to beat."
YESTERDAY'S OTHER RESULTS
- Cook Islands 54 Swaziland 44
- Ireland 50 Hong Kong 29
- 3pm - Hong Kong v Malaysia
- 5pm - Swaziland v Ireland
- 7pm - Singapore v Cook Islands