CHENNAI: In an absorbing semifinal, Delhi quelled a spirited challenge from Association of Indian Universities (AIU) 36-32 in the senior National women’s handball championship at the Nehru Indoor Stadium here on Friday. Delhi will clash with defending champion Railways, which scripted a 33-26 victory over Maharashtra.

Throughout the first half, Delhi dominated scoring goals with minimum of fuss. Preethi and Varuni combined perfectly to find the target repeatedly. Varuni, especially, was the pick of the lot — speed and balance being her forte.

At half-time, Delhi was leading 19-14.

Even midway in the second session, there was never a hint that AIU would come back strongly. Towards the closing stages, Gurmail, Supreet and Harmeet waged a gallant fight-back unnerving a strong Delhi defence. With few seconds remaining for the final whistle, AIU kept up the pressure and inched closer, but Delhi maintained its composure to post a narrow win.

Delhi goalkeeper Priyanka played a crucial role coming up with some very good saves. Though she was replaced by Anita late in the second session for a foul, Priyanka returned to effect a few crucial saves in the dying minutes of the match.

The results (semifinals): Railways 33 (Anita 10) bt Maharashtra 26; Delhi 36 (Varuni 10) bt AIU 32 (Gurmail 11, Supreet 11).

More In: SPORT | Today's Paper