Delhi Waveriders hammered Jaypee Punjab Warriors 6-1 to jump to the third spot and consign the defending champions to the bottom of the Hockey India League (HIL) in Chandigarh on Friday.
Penalty corner conversions from Justin Reid-Ross (4th minute) and Rupinder Pal Singh (17th) helped Delhi take a 2-1 lead at half-time after drag-flick heroics from Mark Gleghorne (30th) lifted the spirits of the hosts.
Then in the second half, Delhi didn’t leave anything for Punjab. A field goal from Mandeep Singh (38th) and Iain Lewers (44th penalty stroke) made it 6-1 for Delhi, who registered third victory in their last four games.
The win took Delhi to the third spot with 21 points from eight games, leaving Punjab at the final spot with 17 points from eight matches.
Top-placed Dabang Mumbai have already qualified with 33 point from nine points. Kalinga Lancers, who play their final game against Punjab on Saturday, are second with 23 points. Uttar Pradesh have 20 points from seven matches to be third on the table, while Ranchi Rays are fourth with 18 points from nine games.
With both the bottom-placed teams, Delhi and Punjab, desperate to reach the semi-finals, the match picked up pace from the beginning. Delhi’s Mandeep was fouled which led to a penalty corner in the fourth minute. Reid-Ross blasted one to the roof, giving no chance to goalkeeper Tristian Clemons to make it 1-0 in the second attempt.
The goal gave a big early boost to Delhi who are bidding their first win away from home. However, Punjab were not bogged down and Jake Whetton tested Delhi goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch’s awareness from a tight angle.
Delhi, two minutes into the second quarter, doubled their lead when Rupinder drag-flicker fired a lower one to the left corner which beat a outstretched right leg of Clemons.
The two-goal advantage meant Delhi take the reins of the match for the next 10-12 minutes. So much so that defender Reid-Ross could have scored a field goal when he met a cross from Mandip Antil only to be blocked by Clemons from a point-blank range.
With 10 seconds to go for the half-time, Punjab halved the deficit with a brilliantly-taken penalty corner from Englishman Gleghorne, who flicked high to the right corner.
Delhi continued to impress with their counter-attacking game even after the break. Harjeet Singh’s through ball found Mandeep with an one-on-one situation with Clemons. The latter charged ahead to keep the danger away in the 35th minute.
One minute later, Reid-Ross was again in action, this time putting a flick above the goalpost. But the goal did come two minutes later as Parvinder Singh’s base-line chip over a fallen goalkeeper Clemons was deflected in by Mandeep to make it 4-1.
Punjab put up a poor show defensively and it hit nadir when a rebound off goalkeeper Clemons hit final defender Surender Kumar on the body. It resulted in a penalty stroke and seasoned Englishman Lewers stepped to put the ball to the left corner and make it an impregnable 6-1.
Delhi continued to be relentless despite the handsome lead and didn’t allow the visitors to even a hope of a comeback as they romped home 6-1.