HIL: Punjab Warriors set up a title clash with Ranchi Rays

HIL: Punjab Warriors set up a title clash with Ranchi Rays

Delhi Waveriders wasted several chances and on Sunday they will take on UP Wizards for the third place.

New Delhi: Jaypee Punjab Warriors outclassed defending champions Delhi Waveriders in the second semi-final of the Hero Hockey India League (HIL) at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium on Saturday to set up a title clash with Ranchi Rays.

Sandeep Singh (third minute) and Augustin Mazzilli (35th) minute scored for Warriors, who reached their second consecutive final. They had lost to Waveriders in the final of the 2014 edition.

Earlier in the day, Rays defeated Uttar Pradesh Wizards 9-8 via penalty shootout.

In the league phase, Englishman Ashley Jackson-led Rays had defeated Warriors twice and that will give them a lot of confidence in the final.

The second semi-final opened at a breakneck speed with Warriors charging ahead with full flair and aggression.

They mounted pressure on a passive Waveriders from the beginning and managed to earn a penalty corner in the third minute.

Veteran drag-flicker Sandeep stepped up to score his 11th goal of the league, which puts him one short of Jackson's highest tally of 12 goals.

Warriors, led by five-time World Player of the Year Jamie Dwyer, peppered the rival circle with tenacity and accuracy, while Waveriders relied on their counter-attack and earned a penalty corner in the dying moments of the first quarter.

But World Goalkeeper of the Year Jaap Stockmaan thwarted the threat posed by Rupinderpal Singh.

Waveriders skipper Sardar Singh, unlike other matches, looked energetic at the center of the pitch. He fed Simon Child and Matt Gohdes from the top of the Warriors circle but to no avail.

Veteran Australian Rob Hammond rose to the occasion and showed that despite his international retirement, he possesses the attributes which made him one of the best holding midfielder of the game. He, along with Lucas Rey, contested Sardar on numerous occasions and came out on top on most of them.

Argentine Mazzilli and young Australian striker Jake Whetton combined well with S.V. Sunil and Affan Yousuf. They posed several challenges to Waveriders German custodian Nicolas Jacobi.

Mazzilli got a fierce reverse-hand strike but continued to work hard and it paid up in the 35th minute.

Australia's attacking midfielder crossed for Mazzilli, who employed a reverse-hand strike to sound the board.

Even though World Player of the Year Mark Knowles of Australia didn't play a bigger role as he was returning from an ankle injury, coordination between Sandeep, Christopher Ciriello and Kieran Govers was quite good and it reflected in their performance.

Govers, who generally plays as a striker, shifted to lay further stability at the back after his team took a 2-0 lead.

However, Waveriders got two back-to-back penalty corners but wasted them due to incompetence of the stopper.

Waveriders wasted several chances and on Sunday they will take on Wizards for the third place.

  • First Published: February 21, 2015, 20:59 IST