Comets stay on course with a sparkling win
- Chandigarh Comets beat Chennai Cheetahs 3-0
- Amir Khan, Gurjinder Singh and Gabbar Singh score for the visitors
- Cheetahs fail to convert all their penalty-corner chances
Chandigarh Comets are turning out to be the team-to-watch-out for most as the Bridgestone World Series Hockey approaches the final lap.
In a crucial match for both the teams here at the Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium on Monday, the Comets made it look easy as they blanked strong contenders Chennai Cheetahs 3-0. The key contest was billed by some as a clash between two of the best penalty-corner exponents in the league – Cheetahs’ Imran Warsi and the young Comets Gurjinder Singh but to everybody’s susprise it was the lion-hearted Sher Singh who dazzled with his deadly charges and lethal blows for the visitors.
The Comets frittered away their quota of penalty corners except once but they had more control in the match. Interestingly, both teams seemed to have anticipated the dreadful drag-flicks and had perfected the art of penaltycorner defence, which made a huge difference in the end.
Sher Singh’s imaginative and daredevil charges did not allow any chance for Imran Warsi to dent their citadel in four of the five penalty corner attempts in the first quarter, while the first one hit the right top vertical. The team that used to rely on Warsi’s firepower lost the plot there itself, and were without any counter-strategy to undo the damage. Coach Jose Brasa did try to use indirect means to convert penalty corners after Warsi failed to make an impact. On one occasion, Warsi played the dummy and Vikas took the shot, but the surprise element didn’t work as goalkeeper Harjot Singh fell flat to block his grounder. Brent Livermore and Vikram Pillay tried a new combination from the other side of the circle, but Harjot was again hard to be fooled.
Earlier, Amir Khan provided the finishing touch to a Gurjinder Singh pass and then on his own added one to give early jitters to the hosts. The shell-shocked Cheetahs appeared flustered at that stage and did not recover from the early setback. Minutes later, Gurjinder had a direct hand in enhancing the lead with a deadly grounder off the first penalty corner. He got seven more chances later, but Vikas Sharma’s charges and goalkeeper Santosh Kumar’s late coming of form came in his way. Then, Sukhwinder ‘Gabbar’ Singh converted a stroke in the second session after a penalty corner rebound hit a defender, to add to the woes of the jaded Chennai outfit.
The visitors could have added a couple of more goals had their captain Rehan Butt latched on to some brilliant moves and lent his finishing touch. The former Pakistani captain was culpable of missing at least three sitters.
Schedule for March 27:
Pune Strykers vs Sher-E-Punjab at Pune, 7pm; Bhopal Badshahs vs Karnataka Lions at Bengaluru; 9pm. Live on Neo Cricket & Neo