HIL Hockey

Warriors to cross swords with Lancers

First final: Kalinga Lancers not only kept Ranchi Rays tied down throughout the match, but also had an impeccable defence that repelled everything the defending champion threw at it.

First final: Kalinga Lancers not only kept Ranchi Rays tied down throughout the match, but also had an impeccable defence that repelled everything the defending champion threw at it.  

Delhi Waveriders takes on Ranchi Rays in the bronze medal play-off.

Defending champion Ranchi Rays faltered in the semifinals against Kalinga Lancers here on Saturday, losing 4-2 in the shoot-out after being tied 2-2 in regulation time in the fourth edition of the Hockey India League.

Lancers not only kept the host tied down throughout the 60 minutes, but also had an impeccable defence that repelled everything Rays threw at them. Reaching the final for the first time, Lancers will meet Jaypee Punjab Warriors, which beat Delhi Waveriders 3-1 in the other semifinal.

Topping the league table by quite a margin, Rays had an unbeaten record at home, a five-day break even as other teams were fighting for qualification, and had the vociferous crowd behind them all through. On Saturday, they fought back twice to take the game into penalties. In the end, none of that mattered.

Moritz Furste came out tops in the battle of midfield marshals for Lancers against Ashley Jackson and his former side. Jackson, the talisman for Rays, did everything right on the field but couldn’t find his scoring touch. His nemesis, Amit Rohidas, rushed out and blunted Jackson’s powerful hits.

Rays had at least a dozen chances to score, but couldn’t make them count. Dodgy in the first two quarters, they settled down and went on the offensive in the last two.

The defence stood firm and the attacks kept coming, orchestrated by Manpreet at the back and pushed forward by Barry Middleton and Jackson. The final shot, though, didn’t materialise.

Lancers played to a plan. Coach Mark Hager admitted alternatives were put to play, with its master scorer Glenn Turner being a marked man. S.K. Uthappa was pulled back and Lalit Upadhyay and Aran Zalewski given more responsibility up front. Lancers got two PCs and converted both; Gurjinder and Furste getting on the scoresheet.

The other semifinal was sedate in comparison. Waveriders looked lethargic and out of sorts and Warriors took full advantage of it. Warriors dominated the proceedings and even though Waveriders went ahead through a penalty-corner in the sixth minute, it was a Warriors game all the way.

Armaan Qureshi’s reverse hit from the top of the striking circle to put Warriors ahead was all class and Simon Orchard’s rebound shot off a penalty-corner cemented the victory.

Waveriders will now take on Rays in the bronze medal play-off in a replay of the title clash three years ago, and a hurting host has made it clear it won’t want to leave the crowd disappointed.

Going by Saturday’s game, Waveriders have a battle on their hands.

The results: Semifinals: Jaypee Punjab Warriors 3 (Armaan Qureshi 2 FG, Simon Orchard PC) bt Delhi Waveriders 1 (Rupinder Pal Singh PC); Kalinga Lancers 2 (Gurjinder Singh, Moritz Furste) bt Ranchi Rays 2 (Trent Mitton, Timothy Deavin) (Shoot-out: 4-2).

Sunday’s matches: Third place playoff: Rays vs Waveriders (3 p.m.), Final: Warriors vs Lancers (5.30 p.m.).

Why you should pay for quality journalism - Click to know more

Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 5:24:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/hockey/hil-warriors-to-cross-swords-with-lancers/article8262058.ece

Next Story