The cacophony in the stands resembled the fare on the pitch. Confusion was rampant and tardy moves from either camp only exposed the quality of the contest. An unhindered view from the press gallery was, in any case, a luxury as Pune Strykers tamed Delhi Wizards 3-1 at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium on Saturday. This was Pune's second win on the trot.
Delhi Wizards was subdued. The fluency that marked its victory over Karnataka Lions on Friday was missing. Obviously, Pune Strykers was a tougher opponent and clearly better organized.
With Kenny Pereira, the Canadian professional, orchestrating most moves the Pune outfit looked far more cohesive in the first two quarters.
A reverse flick on the turn by Mario Almada, the Argentine veteran, in the fourth minute ought to have set the tempo. The ball flew into the goal and Pune was off to a flying start. The Delhi squad had no wizard in its ranks. Rajpal Singh and Shakeel Abbasi looked up to the German forward Philip Sunkel. He did convert a Vikram Kanth pass for the equalizer.
Delhi pushed hard towards the end of the second quarter, earned a penalty corner and should have forged ahead but for a splendid save by Vikas Pillay off a Vikramjeet Singh drag flick. Action shifted in a flash to the other end as Pune forced a penalty corner. It was wasted.
The Wizards gave them some thrilling moments but Pune did not concede an inch and scored in the dying moments of the third quarter through a penalty corner conversion by Gurpreet Singh.
He was only complementing some good work under the bar by Gurpreet Singh Guri. Gurpreet later scored when he scored from a penalty stroke.
The Results: Pune Strykers 3 (Mario Almada, Gurpreet Singh (2) bt Delhi Wizards (Philip Sunkel);
At Jalandhar: Sher-E-Punjab 6 (Mandeep Antil, Tariq Aziz, Gagan Ajit Singh, Harpal Singh, Harpreet Singh 63, Prabhjot Singh 65) bt Karnataka Lions 1 (Vinayak Bijwad).
At Chandigarh: Chennai Cheetahs 5 (Syed Warsi 3, Adam Sinclair, Mark Harris) bt Chandigarh Comets 3 (Ramandeep Singh, Rehan Butt, Sukhwinder Singh).
Sunday's matches: Sher-E-Punjab v trykers, Jalandhar, 7 p.m.; Marines v Comets, Mumbai, 9 p,m.
Keywords: World Series Hockey