Chandigarh: Delhi Waveriders produced an inspired performance to spank defending champions Jaypee Punjab Warriors 6-1 and jump to the third spot in the fifth edition of the Hockey India League (HIL), in Chandigarh on Friday.
Penalty corner conversions by by Justin Reid-Ross (4th minute), skipper Rupinder Pal Singh (17th) helped the visitors take a 2-1 lead at half-time after Mark Gleghorne converted a set piece in the 30th minute for the hosts.
Later striker Mandeep Singh (38th) scored from a field effort and then Iain Lewers (44th) scored from a penalty stroke to fetch the convincing win for the Waveriders.
The win took the Waveriders to the third spot in the standings with 21 points from eight games, leaving Punjab at the bottom of the table with 17 points from as many matches.
Top-placed Dabang Mumbai have already qualified for the semifinals with 33 point from nine matches.
Kalinga Lancers, who play their final game against Punjab tomorrow, are second with 23 points. Uttar Pradesh have 20 points from seven matches, while Ranchi Rays are on 18 points from nine games.
The Waveriders struck early when they earned two back-to-back penalty corners and Justin Reid-Ross made no mistake in his first attempt, firing the ball past in-form Punjab Warriors keeper Tristan Clemons.
The Waveriders continued their good nick into the second quarter, winning another penalty corner in the 17th minute. This time it was captain Rupinder came to the party and was inch-perfect in sending the ball low and hard to the right corner, beating Clemons all ends up to extend their lead.
With only 17 seconds left for the half-time, the home team won their first penalty corner, thanks to some good stick work by young forward Armaan Qureshi.
The opportunity was used to advantage with Mark Gleghorne putting the ball past Vincent Vanasch to close the deficit to 1-2.
Junior World Cup hero Mandeep Singh starred in the third quarter for the Waveriders helping his team extend the lead to 4-1 with his 38th minute field goal.
It was brilliant a work by Surender Kumar and Niklas Wellen, who beat the Punjab Warriors defenders in the striking circle to find Parvinder Singh who selflessly assisted the ball to Mandeep who just had to tap the ball into the goal.
This was Mandeep's eighth goal this season.
The visitors good run continued when they were awarded a penalty stroke in the 44th minute and Englishman Lewers promptly put the ball past Clemons to extend their lead to a formidable 6-1 margin.
Thereafter, it was a herculean task for the home team to bounce back in the final quarter as the Waveriders defended in numbers to keep their lead in tact.
The home team had their opportunities but they messed up a penalty corner opportunity in the 49th minute while attempting to convert it into a field goal.
The Punjab Warriors then conceded two penalty corners in the final quarter but an alert Jugraj denied the Waveriders any further lead.
The Punjab Warriors will take on Kalinga Lancers in anoher round robin match in Chandigarh on Saturday.
Firstpost is now on WhatsApp. For the latest analysis, commentary and news updates, sign up for our WhatsApp services. Just go to Firstpost.com/Whatsapp and hit the Subscribe button.
Updated Date: Feb 18, 2017 10:48:08 IST