India are the defending champions, having won gold in the 2014 edition at Incheon, South Korea, and chief coach Harendra Singh and skipper PR Sreejesh have already expressed their desire to win a second successive yellow metal.
A win here will secure them qualification to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and act as morale booster ahead of the year-end World Cup at home, where Harendra is eyeing a podium.
"In the last couple of years we have proved to the world that India is back on the hockey map. We are number five in the world but by the end of the year we want to be in top 3 in the world," Harendra had said.
While there was plenty to cheer about on the field, the situation was not exactly the same for Sreejesh, who is worried about the unprecedented flood in his native Kerala.
The situation in Kerala remains precarious with water levels still rising dangerously in many rivers and people stranded in many areas waiting for help to arrive.
Despite the grim situation back home, the seasoned goalkeeper put up a brave face as he focused on the job at hand.