New Delhi: Uttar Pradesh Wizards bounced back from three consecutive defeats to beat Delhi Waveriders 6-4 and pocket five crucial points in the Coal India Hockey India League (HIL) at the Shivaji Hockey Stadium here on Monday.
For Wizards, V.R. Raghunath converted a penalty corner in the 19th minute to give them the 1-0 lead. Chinglesana Singh (54th), Jamie Dwyer (55th) scored two field goals and Wouter Jolie converted a penalty corner in the 58th to make it six goals for the visitors.
Field goal is counted as two in this edition of the HIL and two quick goals dented Delhi’s chances.
Waveriders found their goals from Justin Reid-Ross (55th) and Mandeep Singh (58th). They will also have to blame their penalty corner experts, who failed to score from as many as 10 chances.
With this win, Wizards collected five points and but they still will be fifth with 12 points. Jaypee Punjab Warriors also have 12 points, but are ahead on goal difference.
Whereas, Delhi remained at the third spot with 17 points – same as Kalinga Lancers – but the Bhubaneswar-based outfit has a better goal difference.
Wizards, coming off three back-to-back defeats at home, showed a lot of patience as Waveriders made an impressive start.
After a rough tackle in the fifth minute inside Wizards circle, Rupinder’s flick lacked power and precision as P.R. Sreejesh put it away and later the Indian goalkeeper had to reach to his left and palm away a reverse-hand strike from Simon Child.
Tristian White misjudged the bounce after the first drop off a chip from the deep and it allowed Ramandeep Singh to make his side’s first realistic attempt at the Delhi post. However, Ramandeep drove the ball straight at goalkeeper Devon Manchester, much to the relief of the home camp.
However, Wizards continued to apply pressure and were rewarded with a penalty corner in the 20th minute. V.R. Raghunath was right on the money to open the account of the visiting side from Lucknow.
Wizards threatened to make it 3-0 when Scot striker Kenny Bain received a thorough ball but, with only the goalkeeper to beat, he lifted the ball wide.
At the death of the second quarter, Delhi got four back-to-back penalty corners but none of them yielded a goal as the two teams headed for the 10-minute breather.
As soon as the third quarter began, a one-two build-up play between Australians Jamie Dwyer and Eddie Ockenden saw Wizards earn a penalty corner but they failed to capitalize on it.
Delhi gained momentum towards the close of the quarter but Wizards managed to fend off the challenge.
Sreejesh once blocked a field strike from Child and later denied Justin Reid-Ross’ drag-flick to keep the slender lead.
The match reached its optimum level in the final quarter with Chinglensana making it 3-0 with a backhand strike and one minute later Australian veteran Dwyer silenced the half-filled Shivaji Stadium crowd with a reverse-hand screamer that made it 5-0.
The twin goals received a strong response from Delhi as Reid-Ross scored a field goal, which is counted as two in the tournament.
In a quick counter-attack, Wizards earned another penalty corner that was converted by Dutchman Jolie to make it 6-2.
Delhi refused to die as Mandeep Singh lifted the ball home as the hosts were now another field strike away from levelling things up. But they were unable to do so and lost 4-6.
Waveriders can bounce back within 24 hours as they host Punjab Warriors on Tuesday.