Gurpreet Singh struck a brace as Pune Strykers notched up a 3-1 victory over hosts Delhi Wizards in their second match of the World Series Hockey tournament at the Dhyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi on Saturday.
Both teams had a winning start to their campaign but it was Pune who were able to keep their slate clean as they scored through Mario Almada (5th minute) and Gurpreet Singh (53rd and 59th) for Pune.
Philip Sunkel (26th) pulled one back for Delhi Wizards.
Pune Strykers drew first blood in the first quarter with Mario Almada's reverse strike finding the cage from a goal mouth melee in the 20th minute. Eight minutes off the first quarter, Delhi had almost scored but their goal was disallowed.
Pune created more opportunities and earned their first penalty corner in the 10th minute, but their variation didn't work with Vikas Pillay hitting wide.
In the 13th minute, Delhi earned two consecutive PCs but Pune's defence stood strong as the home team went into the break 0-1 behind.
In the second quarter, Delhi had an early chance to score but Shakeel Abbasi's pass to Vikram Kanth went off the target.
In the 20th minute, Pune earned their second short corner but the Wizards were up to the job.
The hosts finally brought up the equalizer eight minutes into the second quarter when German Philip Sunkel, standing in front of the goalpost, deflected home a pass from Vikram Kanth inside the D.
Delhi could have gone ahead but they squandered two successive penalty corners in the 30th minute. Pune were equally erroneous as they also failed to convert a penalty corner in the dying moments of the second quarter.
In the third quarter, both the teams employed a fast-paced game and made many inroads into the rival camp but without any success as the 1-1 deadlock continued.
In the dying moments, the Stykers gained a short corner and this time they didn't make any mistake with Gurpreet Singh finding the back of the cage with a grounded flick.
Pushed to the wall, Delhi tried their best to create opportunities but their finishing let them down. The Strykers also made many penetrations and their efforts were awarded when Gurpreet converted a penalty stroke, ten minutes from the hooter to seal the match.
Five minutes later, Delhi made a last ditch attempt but a diving Philip failed to connect properly a pass from Abbasi as the deflection went wide of the post.
Sher-e-Punjab thrash Karnataka Lions 6-1
Playing like a champions, Sher-e-Punjab demolished Karnakata Lions 6-1 during their World Series Hockey match played in Jalandhar on Saturday.
Punjab utilised Karnataka's poor finish to subdue them, and then built up sustained pressure to go up in every opportunity they created. With an array of forwards of the caliber of Mandeep Anil, Gagan Ajit Sigh, Prabodh Singh, besides penalty corner executioners in veteran Harpal Singh and Harpreet Singh, Shers scored at will and did not allow the Lions to settle.
The eventful first quarter remained goalless. Karnataka defence, despite coming under constant attack, not only withstood all of them but also launched serious counter attacks. Olympian Harpal Singh did some solid work inside the circle to frustrate the nippy Lions' strikers, and keep the scoreboard clean.
Unlike in the first quarter, the Karnataka Lions refused to play second fiddle to Shers in the second quarter. The aggressive strategy paid dividends that broke the goal jinx as well. Young Vinayak Bijwad pounced on a second rebound to move the scoreboard (18th min, 1-0) and kick start a goal-spree that followed. Lurking inside the circle, Deepak Thakur posed danger to the Lions all the time. Despite missing a couple of sitters in the early part of the match, the Olympian played a stellar role in steering Shers towards success.
After a barren first quarter, the India internationals Gagan Ajit Singh and Deepak Thakur set the turf on fire. First Deepak Thakur's athleticism helped Sher-e-Punjab get a penalty stroke and then Gagan reminisced his glorious past with a patented close range forehand shot. In a loss of composure, an otherwise calm Lions' custodian Devesh Chauhan rushed out of the cage and felled Deepak Thakur on the top of the circle. There was no doubt in the minds of the vast crowd that it's a serious foul, and it was punished with a stroke for Shers.
Pakistani import Tariq Aziz had no difficulty in converting the welcome stroke (2-1). He pushed the ball to the top inside net to outwit goalie Devesh Chauhan. With this 32nd minute goal, the Shers shifted gears and took the Lions defence head on.
After a couple of quick circle penetrations, forward Mandeep Antil punched a parallel pass across the circle only to be intercepted by Devesh. Lurking around like a hawk, gangling Gagan stopped the rebound with a left-hand lunge, and once that impossible-looking act was accomplished, he whacked a forehand in a fraction of second, leaving Devesh Chauhan rooted (3-1) to his ground.
With the defence of Lions in a shambles, expecting a goalie appeared out of the question. It took a long time for the Lions to pull up their socks. At the break, the Shers returned to the dressing room with a comfortable 3-1 score in their kitty.
The third quarter did not produce any sparks compared to the second, and it was due to improved defence of the Lions. Yet, the host team went up.
Harpal Singh, who stood like a Rock of Gibraltor in the defence, entered his name on the scoreboard. His hit off the fourth penalty corner brooked no answer (4-1) in the 43rd minute. This temporarily put at rest the question of the winner. Later, goals from Prabhjot Singh (61st min), Harpreet Singh (61st min) were only formalities.
It's a second win for the Shers while second loss for the Lions in as many matches.
Imran 'tricks' as Chennai down Chandigarh
Pakistan international Syed Imran Warsi scored a hat-trick as Chennai Cheetahs beat Chandigarh Comets 5-3 during their World Series Hockey tie in Chandigarh on Saturday.
With both teams having lost their opening games earlier, the Chennai team dominated the proceedings for most part taking an early lead.
They were leading 3-1 at half-time of the four quarter match, with each quarter lasting seventeen-and-a-half minutes.
The next half saw some keenly contested hockey but Chennai maintained the edge.
The visitors, led by Brent Livermore, dominated the first quarter all through, tasting success in the seventh minute with drag-flicker Imran earning them the lead through the first penalty corner.
Playing in front of a sparse crowd, the Chandigarh team was hapless and lacked intensity in the first quarter. Their woes doubled when Adam Sinclair finished a good attack build up by Mark Harris to slot home the second goal for Chennai.
Chandigarh's Pakistani import Rehan Butt, failed to make his mark in the match.
Butt was running around without trapping any passes and his substitution for a while also did not help the team cause in the first quarter.
Their misery compounded when Warsi pumped in another goal off the second penalty corner which the team earned in the 5th minute of the second quarter making it 3-0.
Chandigarh eventually opened their account when Ramandeep Singh deflected a pass in the ninth minute of the 2nd quarter.
Rehan's only spot in the limelight came in the third minute of the third quarter when he scored his first goal taking a single handed shot.
Warsi, who was off the field for a while getting some treatment for back spasm in the second quarter, then completed a hat-trick after scoring of the fifth penalty corner in the fifth minute of the third quarter.
Chandigarh scored their third goal in the 12th minute of the last quarter, with Sukhwinder Singh Gabbar finding the net on fourth penalty corner.
However, the visitors were in no mood to let them celebrate with Mark Harris finishing off a well- built attack from the left flank to make it 5-3 with barely four minutes to the hooter.