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Delhi Waveriders crowned Hockey India League champions

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Ranchi: Delhi Waveriders overcame Punjab Warriors in a sensational penalty shoot-out to capture their maiden Hockey India League (HIL) crown at the Morabadi Stadium here yesterday.

Delhi Waveriders celebrate their win over Punjab Warriors in Ranchi
Delhi Waveriders celebrate their win over Punjab Warriors in Ranchi

Waveriders, who finished runners-up in the inaugural HIL last year, were second time lucky as they beat Warriors 3-1 in the shoot-out after both teams scored three goals apiece during regular play.

Goalkeeper Nicolas Jacobi turned out to be the saviour for Waveriders in a high-scoring contest. The Delhi team walked away with the title and Rs 2.5 crore in prize money while Warriors got half that amount.

Earlier Sunday, Ranchi Rhinos defeated Uttar Pradesh Wizards in another penalty shoot-out to finish third. It was tipped to be a cracker of a final with the top two teams of the league stage battling it out.

Early strike
Warriors shocked Waveriders by scoring in the second minute through Mark Knowles. The Australian caught Jacobi off-guard with a rasping hit to the right side of the cage.

While Warriors continued to attack, Waveriders managed a penalty corner against the momentum. Rupinder Pal Singh's crisp strike was blocked by Lucas Rey, who was standing to the left of Warriors' goalie Jaap Stockmann.

Creating chances
Warriors kept on creating chances, the two of which were saved brilliantly by German custodian Jacobi. Waveriders also started penetrating the circle often and found the crucial equalizer towards the end of second quarter.

Lloyd Norris Joness' reverse flick blasted into the net, orchestrating his run in from the left flank to good effect.

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