Delhi Waveriders coach Cedric D’Souza would be slightly at ease as his side recorded its first win of the 2017 beating Uttar Pradesh Wizards 4-1 (points: 8-1) at the Shivaji Stadium in New Delhi on Wednesday.
After three losses, Delhi Waveriders put up a much better show against UP Wizards. What stood out was the fact that the Waveriders kept the pressure on throughout the match, denying Wizards a chance to make a comeback.
The star of the night was India hockey team striker Mandeep Singh. He scored two brilliant field goals and assisted in two more to earn Waveriders the big win.
Mandeep looked a transformed player both in terms of speed and accuracy and that was best illustrated when he dodged and got the better of PR Sreejesh, India’s number one goalkeeper, twice. Mandeep was sprightly compared to Tuesday night when he
Waveriders, in fact, sensed victory in the opening four minutes itself when Mandeep raced from the centre to collect a stray ball in the opponents’ half, and then went on to beat Sreejesh.
Wizards, despite having India’s best strikers in their ranks — Ramandeep Singh and Akashdeep Singh — weren’t able to create chances to score. Akashdeep earned a penalty corner in the first quarter, which was converted by VR Ragunath. That was all they could manage through the match.
Waveriders’ dominance was quite apparent as they team earned two penalty corners in the opening 30 minutes. Both the chances were wasted though.
Mandeep was also on target in the second quarter. Following a goalmouth melee, he flicked the ball that went past Sreejesh.
After the change of ends, it was up to the two stars of Indian hockey team–Rupinder Pal Singh of Waveriders and VR Ragunath of the Wizards–to rally their team. It was Delhi’s skipper who managed to stay calm and steer his team to victory.
Waveriders, rather than going defensive, went for an attack in the last 20 minutes.They not only increased the margin of victory but kept the opponents at bay.
With three minutes to go for final whistle, Mandeep combined with Parvinder Singh, the latter easily beating the advancing ‘’keeper taking the match beyond the reach of Wizards.
A minute later, Mandeep, who was declared the Player of the Match, made another good move. This time he gave a pass to Austin Smith who slotted home the team’s fourth goal.
With this win, the Waveriders have ten points in their kitty and have moved up to fifth place in the tally, while Wizards goes down to sixth place with eight points. Punjab Warriors is at fourth (11 points).
Dabang Mumbai is leading the tally with 23, followed by Kalinga Lancers (20) and Ranchi Rays is third (17).