Delhi Waveriders pushed home team Ranchi Rays to the limit to split the points with a 0-0 draw in a pulsating encounter at the fifth edition of the Coal India Hockey India League here on Saturday.
The first quarter was dominated by the Delhi Waveriders who started strong with better ball possession. They started showing more urgency and intent, forcing the Ranchi Rays back on every attack.
- Through concise incisive passing Delhi Waveriders started breaking down the Ranchi Rays defence each time they launched a counter. The first chance fell to Talwinder Singh with a fierce reverse hit to fire in the opener in the 3rd minute of the match. Tyler Lovell, in the Ranchi Rays goal came off the line quickly and blocked the shot to deny the visitors a lead.
The pressure paid off soon enough though. Mandeep Singh won Delhi Waveriders their first PC of the game, thanks to sloppy defence within the circle by Ranchi Rays. From the flick, Austin Smith, did not disappoint with a hard push, but could not beat the goalkeeper as the two teams went into the first break in a stalemate.
Delhi Waveriders showed their resilience, coming back from the two-minute break, discomforting Ranchi Rays who made as many as seven circle penetrations but in vain. The home team though had a golden chance at converting, within a minute into the second quarter, but Gurbaj Singh’s deflection from within the circle missed the goal by inches. The second quarter too remained goal less.
It seemed as though fortunes would change in the third quarter when Delhi Waveriders’ Simon Child appealed for a high-ball coming off Gurbaj Singh’s stick within the striking circle through video referral. His appeal was upheld and the visitors were handed a penalty corner. This time, skipper Rupinder Pal Singh taking the strike but Ranchi Rays goalkeeper Lovell was on top of his game so was the Ranchi Rays defender Flynn Ogilvie with some superb stick work to ensure they denied Delhi Waveriders a lead.
The battle for supremacy continued into the final quarter with both teams pressing hard and chances flying both ways. Ranchi Rays missed a sure shot winner when Gurbaj Singh passing wide off Ashley Jackson who had positioned himself perfectly to deflect the ball into the goal. The teams had to settle with a draw and split the points from the encounter.
Parvinder Singh won the prize of Rs 25,000 for being the Hero Young Achiever of the Match from Olympian Mr. Manohar Topno.
The Most Entertaining Player of the Match was awarded to Christopher Ruhr of Ranchi Rays that came with a prize money of Rs 25,000 and presented by Mr. R.S Mahapatro, Director (Personnel), Central Coalfields Ltd.
Ranchi Rays Gurbaj Singh was declared the Man of the Match and was awarded a prize money of Rs 50,000 by Mr. J Ranjan, Founder and CEO, Intelliber Technologies.