Captain Sandeep Singh's brace put India [ Images ] ahead before they conceded a late goal to settle for a 2-2 draw against New Zealand [ Images ] in the Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament in Ipoh, Malaysia on Thursday.
Richard Petherick's eighth minute strike put the Kiwis ahead but Sandeep scored the equaliser in the 27th minute and struck once again in the 48th minute to snatch the lead.
For New Zealand, Joseph Barth Holomew sounded the board in the 63rd minute to restore parity.
With Malaysia leading the table and New Zealand being India's main rival for a place in Sunday's final, a win would have come handy for Sandeep's men but they faltered towards the end and bagged just one point from the outing.
India and New Zealand both have five points even though Sandeep's men enjoy a superior goal average in the tournament.
On a high after their 3-0 win against Malaysia on Wednesday, India were in for an early jolt when Richard Petherick found the target in the eighth minute.
Stung by the reverse, India made repeated inroads before tasting success in the 27th minute through their captain, which ensured they went into the break at 1-1. Sandeep was at it again in the second half to put India in the lead but their perennial tendency to concede late goals showed no signs of relenting.
The defence, which withstood many a Kiwi onslaught, could not see through the last few minutes and wilted before Joseph Barth Holomew to settle for a draw.
After a rest day on Friday, India play their final league match against arch-rivals Pakistan on Saturday while New Zealand take on Malaysia on the same day.