Delhi make it 1 vs 2

Having missed half a dozen penalty corners already, the Punjab Warriors, trailing 2-1 but dominating the passage of play, went for broke in the dying minutes looking for that elusive equaliser. In the process, they left too much space at the back. Almost inevitably, on a swift counter-attack, Gurvinder Singh Chandi passed the ball ahead to Lloyd Norris Jones, and the big South African beat his two markers before hitting a fiery diagonal short past goalkeeper Jaap Stockmann. To the Punjab team and its supporters, the ball thudding into the goal was the sound of the death knell.

For Delhi, it meant a place in the final that was expected of them. The manner in which it came about, however, left a lot to be desired. Delhi looked surefooted — as they always do — in the beginning, and scored as well off a penalty corner, with Andres Mir Bel finding the target in the 13th minute after drag-flicker Rupinder Pal Singh, instead of a pushing the trigger himself, set his teammate up.

Rupinder got his chance in the 33rd minute and drag-flicked the ball nice and high to beat Stockmann. However, Jamie Dwyer scored a second later to bring Punjab back in the game. They launched repeated attacks, put Delhi under pressure and got PCs as well, but were thwarted by some expectional goalkeeping by Man of the Match Nicloas Jacobi.

The result also means that the two best teams will face each other in what promises to be a cracking final.

Force vs flair

Delhi's opponents in Sunday's game, Ranchi, play an attacking brand of hockey, and have perhaps been the most exciting team on show. While Delhi are more efficient and mechanical, Ranchi are a bunch of happy-go-lucky players exhibiting a play-and-miss brand of hockey. They create chances as often as they miss them. In one group stage match against their opponents in the final, they wasted 11 clear chances and played a 2-2 draw.

... contd.

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