Chennai Cheetahs recovered from a 1-3 deficit to end the day with honours after a 6-4 triumph against Delhi Wizards in a World Series Hockey match here on Wednesday.
The outcome, which enhanced Chennai's total to 19 points from 13 matches, gives it another lease of life to put up a fight for a place in the semifinals.
This was probably the best encounter it had played on the home turf, much to the delight of the spectators.
It would be invidious to pinpoint an individual in the Chennai team but if it is a compulsion, then the honour should go to Adam Sinclair, for his two spectacular goals, the all round display by Vikram Pillay and, of course, to the darling of the crowd, Imran Warsi for the two penalty corners that he converted to bring the parity at 3-3.
Vikramjit nets four
For the Delhi team, the hero was the penalty corner striker Vikramjit Singh, who hit all the four goals.
It appeared that the Chennai team was near the exit door to the semifinals before the match swung into life in the third quarter.
In a rare display of spirit, speed and skill, the Chennai squad turned the tables on the rival which was leading 3-1 on the strength of Vikramjit's hat-trick.
Delhi had everything its way, thanks to the quick moves engineered by Germany's Sunkel from the mid-field.
The seasoned forwards, Rajpal Singh and Pakistan's Shakeel Abbasi, carried forward a series of moves to puncture the Chennai defence. Vikramjit luxuriated in the penalty corners.
Chennai's recovery was led by Veeraswamy Raja, who scored a peach of a goal, from a cross by Vikas Sharma, for the equaliser in the first quarter.
But the attack continued to be listless for the major part of the second quarter notwithstanding some splendid work by Vikram.
Delhi netted two goals in the quarter to lead 3-1.
The complexion of the contest underwent a dramatic change in the third when Chennai began to exert pressure. Five penalty corners surfaced during this period.
The fierce shots by Imran were saved with assurance by goal-keeper Kamaldeep Singh but the former had the last laugh, pumping in two to the roof of the net.
The teams were on par when the final quarter got underway.
Initially, Delhi held the whip hand and earned two penalty corners. Vikramjit's first attempt was stopped neatly on the goal line by Vikram.
The Delhi striker was unlucky in the next when the ball crashed against the crosspiece and spun into play.
In a desperate effort to shift the pressure, Chennai surged into the attack and Sinclair touched brilliant form at this point.
He hoisted the lead with a lovely deflection from the right. Vikram followed suit within a minute and Sinclair capped a superb solo run to slam the sixth goal.
Before the final whistle, Vikramjit netted his fourth. But what a tumble for a team that looked like conquering everything before it.
The results: Chennai Cheetahs 6 (Veeraswamy Raja, Imran Warsi 2, Adam Sinclair 2) bt Delhi Wizards 4 (Vikramjit Singh 4).
At Chandigarh: Chandigarh Comets 4 (Ramandeep Singh 3rd, Gurjinder Singh 17th, Mohd. Amir Khan 32nd, Robert Green 69th) bt Mumbai Marines 3 (Xess Banmali 35th, Troy Sutherland 50th, Ajmer Singh 55th).
Thursday's matches: Chandigarh Comets v Karnataka Lions, Chandigarh, 7 p.m.; Bhopal Badshahs v Pune Strykers, Bhopal, 9 p.m.
Keywords: World Series Hockey