Jaypee Punjab Warriors made it to the third final with a 3-1 win over Delhi Waveriders while it will be a maiden summit clash for Kalinga Lancers who ousted defending champions Ranchi Rays 4-2 in the Hockey India League, in Ranchi, on Saturday.
In the first match between Punjab and Delhi, the first quarter of the game started with both the teams playing cautiously, observing the game plan of each other.
Both teams looked for counter attacking opportunities and the first major chance came Delhi's way in the 6th minute through a penalty corner, which was converted effectively by Rupinder Pal Singh to give the team an early lead. This was Rupinder's 12th goal of the tournament.
Delhi maintained their 1-0 lead at the end of the first quarter, and the second quarter expectedly saw Punjab Warriors pressing hard to establish equilibrium.
Punjab efforts paid dividends in the 19th minute when young striker Armaan Qureshi netted the ball through a reverse flick shot that beat Devon Manchester. This field goal helped Punjab take a 2-1 lead.
The first half ended with the Warriors leading 2-1.
Punjab kept up the pressure for most of the fourth quarter also with a strong ball possession.
The opportunity was well converted by Simon Orchard in the 51st minute and that gave Punjab a two-goal cushion.
The last few seconds of the game saw Delhi coming very close to scoring but exceptional goalkeeping from Clemons ensured Punjab's smooth entry into the HIL final.
The second semi–final was a nail-biter. Lancers held their nerves to come out victorious in the match which was decided by a penalty shoot-out after the score was tied at 2-2 at the end of four quarters.
The shootout started on a low key note for the Ranchi Rays as their captain Ashley Jackson missed the first one.
Lancers captain Moritz Fuerste scored. Ranchi Rays managed to score their next two penalty shots but Lancers goalkeeper Abhinav Kumar Pandey ensured that Ranchi Rays do not score their fourth shot which was taken by Barry Middleton.
Aran Zalewski converted his penalty shot to win the match for Kalinga Lancers by 4-2 in the shoot–out.