Punjab Warriors pip Delhi Waveriders

New Delhi, Feb 8: Defending champions Jaypee Punjab Warriors edged past Delhi Waveriders 3-2 to jump to the fourth spot in the Coal India Hockey India League (HIL) at the Shivaji Stadium here on Tuesday.

Mink van der Weerden’s successful pelty corner conversion in the 53rd minute turned out to be the winner after Delhi’s Tristian White’s 39th-minute field goal cancelled out Robert van der Horst’s 15th-minute strike.

With this win, Punjab took their points tally to 11 points and leapfrogged Uttar Pradesh Wizards, who have eight points from three matches, while Delhi, with five points from four matches, remained in the sixth and fil spot.

Dabang Mumbai are on top of the table with 23 points from seven matches, while Kalinga Lancers are second with 20 points from seven matches. Third-placed Ranchi Rays have 17 points from seven games.

The match between Punjab and Delhi saw the latter, with their brand of Indo-Australian style of attacking hockey, starting on a strong note, penetrating Delhi circle regularly.

Early into the game, Satbir Singh couldn’t connect a base-line left cross from debutant Mirco Pruyser at the right post as the ball just bounced awkwardly, in a big relief to the home camp. But Punjab kept their tempo and found the deserving lead in the 15th minute when Satbir stched the ball from Manuel Brunet at the left of the halfway line before squaring pass to van der Horst. The veteran Dutch star then employed a ripping back-hander from the edge of the circle to beat goalkeeper Vincent Vasch.

After the goal, Delhi sat back and when Punjab slightly dropped their energy towards the end of the second quarter, the hosts gathered some steam. Delhi got two quick pelty corners but Rupinder Pal Singh and Justin Reid-Ross’ flicks were not strong enough to beat Punjab goalkeeper Tristian Clemons.

Delhi continued the way they ended the second quarter, with pace and momentum. Mandeep Singh found a great opportunity to level the scores following a quick counter-attack. With two defenders chasing him, his drive went inches away from the right post.

The Waveriders will next play Uttar Pradesh Wizards on Wednesday in their quest for maiden win. IANS