New Delhi: Delhi Waveriders stunned defending champions Ranchi Rays 7-4 in a hard-fought battle in the 4th Coal India Hockey India League today.
The hosts, who won their first home match after losing four consecutive games, reignited their hopes of getting a berth in the play-offs to be played at Ranchi on February 20 and 21. An excellent forward line along with some critical and scintillating saves from Devon Manchester ensured the Waveriders managed a convincing victory over table toppers Ranchi Rays.
With this win Delhi Waveriders move to the fifth place in the table with 22 points to their kitty from nine games. Ranchi Rays still lead the points tally with 27 points. The match began on an attacking note with Delhi Waveriders pressing hard to score. The hosts seemed beaming with energy as most of the game was happening around the Ranchi Rays circle. Continuous attacks led to the home team's first success in the 7th minute through Mandeep Singh's field goal giving the Delhi Waveriders an early 2-0 lead.
Delhi Waveriders did not settle down post this and kept on attacking and entering the opponents circle in quick successions. One such move yielded results in the 13th minute when the Waveriders were awarded a penalty corner and Talvinder Singh made no errors in converting it giving the home team a comfortable 3-0 lead. The defending champions were left stunned post these two goals and tried hard to reorganise themselves as the first quarter came to an end with Delhi Waveriders leading 3-0.
The second quarter was no different as the hosts kept on pressing hard and struck for the third time in the 19th minute with a field goal through Talvinder Singh to give the hosts a massive lead of 5-0 in the first half. Delhi Waveriders started the second half on an attacking note but Ranchi Rays had collected themselves and their defence line played true to their reputation, foiling many attempts to score from the hosts.
The visitors finally achieved success through captain Ashley Jackson in the 35th minute, making it 5-2 in favour of Delhi Waveriders. The Waveriders managed to add one more to their tally as Mandeep Singh scored his second goal of the day in the 42nd minute giving the hosts a strong 7-2 lead in the game.
Ranchi Rays tried hard to score on the counter but Devon Manchester made some beautiful saves for the Waveriders as the third quarter came to an end with the score board reading 7-2. Ranchi found success in the 50th minute through a field goal from Trent Mitton to make it 7-4 still in the favour of Delhi Waveriders.