Delhi Waveriders scored a clinical 3-1 win over Jaypee Punjab Warriors to set up the title clash against Ranchi Rhinos in the inaugural Hockey India League in Ranchi.
The Delhi outfit rode on goals from Andres Mir Bel (14th minute), Rupinder Pal Singh (32nd) and Lloyd Norris Jones (67th) to outclass the Warriors in the second semi-final at the Astroturf Hockey Stadium.
For the Punjab outfit Jamie Dwyer scored the consolation goal in the 33rd minute. The Warriors will now face Uttar Pradesh Wizards in the third-fourth place play-off match on Sunday.
Earlier in the first semi-final, Mandeep Singh and Nick Wilson scored a brace each to help the Rhinos beat Wizards 4-2.
The Rhinos scored through field goals from Mandeep (5th minute, 66th) and Wilson (32nd, 64th), while Nithin Thimmaiah (16th, 54th) was the goal-getter for the Wizards.
The second semi-final between the Waveriders and the Warriors witnessed a slow start as both the teams took time to get off their blocks.
The Delhi outfit was the aggressive between the two sides in the initial stages but with time the Warriors started to catch their rivals.
The Warriors, on the other hand, looked unimaginative upfront as Delhi was structured and solid in defence.
It was the Warriors who got the first penalty corner of the match 12th minute but it was turned down after Delhi made successful referral appeal.
The Warriors, however, conceded a penalty corner in the subsequent counter-attack and the Waveriders took full advantage of it to go 1-0 up.
Andres scored an improvised goal from the set piece after he was beautifully set up by Rupinder U-turn.
Had it not been for an alert Jacob Stockmann under the Warriors goal, the Waveriders could have scored two more goals in the first quarter.
The Punjab side came out with more purpose in the second quarter and made a few inroads into the Delhi citadel but their forwards lacked in finishing.
But it was the Waveriders who doubled their lead in the 32nd minute when Rupinder scored from their third penalty corner with a fierce flick that crashed into top of the Warriors goal after getting a deflection.
The Warriors responded in the very next minute when Dwyer scored with a fierce shot from close range after getting a rebound to trail 1-2 at the halfway stage.
Even though both the teams displayed free-flowing, fast hockey in the third quarter, what eluded them was goals.
It was again the Waveriders who came close to scoring in the 52nd minute, but Punjab’s reserve goalkeeper Bharat Chetri made an acrobatic save to deny Danish Mujataba.
Punjab cannot afford to give any excuses for the loss as they wasted three penalty corners in succession in the fourth quarter to make life difficult for themselves.
Down 1-2, Punjab went all out attacking and in the process left huge gaps in their backline. Delhi were quick to cash in on the lapse as an unmarked Norris Jones took the game beyond the Warriors grasp with a fine goal just three minutes from the hooter.
Punjab earned another short corner in the last minute of the game but misfired once again to sum up their sorry day.