The first date between Delhi Waveriders and bottom-placed Mumbai Magicians in the Hockey India League (HIL) Season-II turned out to be closer than expected.
Waveriders toiled hard to notch up a 2-1 win, its fourth in this edition, and consolidate its place at the peak with 24 points. Magicians got one point from the loss to total six points from five matches.
In the dull opening quarter, Rupinderpal Singh and Sardar Singh proved their worth for the host by showing some gritty work at the back and occasional movement to feed their colleagues up. Magician could have gained a huge ground had Bharat Chikara’s freak effort in the 11th minute not been palmed away by Waveriders’ alert custodian Nicolas Jacobi.
Waveriders brought some life into the match by drawing first blood in the 20th minute. Lloyd Norris Jones, who had seen his fine solo run go waste in the first period, took advantage of a trapping error by Gurjinder Singh and dashed about 30 yards before passing the ball onto his unmarked companion Akashdeep Singh. The young forward beat one defender to fire in with a reverse stick. The touring side’s midfield and defence gelled well and the controlled game of Adam Dixon, Timothy Deavin, Vikas Pillay and V.S. Vinaya prevented any immediate damage. The home side made some spirited moves, but it was not easy to punch holes in the Magicians’ wall.
The consistent Gurbaj Singh ruled the right flank, while Sardar was busy marshalling his men and plotting attacks for the host. Waveriders nearly got its second goal when Simon Child’s shot off the rebound that was saved by Magicians’ goalkeeper David Harte.
The third quarter was eventful as umpire Raghu Prasad did not allow a Waveriders goal and Magicians restored parity in style. Sarvanjit Singh sent in a cross from the right and Simon Mantell relayed it to Glenn Turner on goalmouth to earn the eqaliser in the 49th minute.
Yuvraj Walmiki’s 66th minute winner off a pass from the left surprised Harte and the Waveriders erupted in joy.
The result: Delhi Waveriders 2 (Akashdeep Singh 20, Yuvraj Walmiki 66) bt Mumbai Magicians 1 (Glenn Turner 49).