Delhi Wizards again banked on its star striker Shakeel Abbasi to salvage some pride as it ended its campaign with an entertaining 7-5 win over the Sher-e-Punjab in the World Series Hockey here on Friday.
The agile Abbasi had been the lone warrior in Delhi's journey throughout the tournament. With no hope of making the semifinals, the home team had to give its best to go out with its head held high. It took the help of the Pakistani forward to succeed in its mission.
Delhi would have recorded an even bigger win had it not missed eight penalty corners. It finished with 19 points to be sixth after completing its quota of 14 matches. Gagandeep Singh gave Punjab the lead in the eighth minute when he put Karamjit Singh's cross from the left into the post. However, five minutes later, Victo Singh scored the equaliser with a solid shot from the top of the circle.
Vivek Gupta put Delhi ahead with a similar attempt in the 29th minute. Four minutes before the halfway stage hooter, former India forward Prabhjot Singh drew parity with a reverse hit.
Abbasi sealed the fate of the match with two goals in quick succession. He deflected in a shot from right in the 38th minute and hit home five minutes later to make it 4-2 for Delhi after the penultimate quarter. Karamjit reduced the margin in the 53rd minute.
However, Delhi maintained its momentum against a lacklustre Punjab as Upendra Pillay (54th) and Rajpal (57th) slotted in. Abbasi's penalty stroke conversion in the 61st minute was the 300th goal of the event. Prabhjot (67th, 68th) scored two back-to-back goals to add some thrill towards the close.
Saturday is a rest day in the tournament.
The semifinals will be played on Sunday.
The result: Delhi Wizards 7 (Victo Singh, Vivek Gupta, Shakeel Abbasi-3, Upendra Pillay, Rajpal Singh) bt Sher-E-Punjab 5 (Gagandeep Singh, Prabhjot Singh-3, Karamjit Singh).
Keywords: World Series Hockey