Delhi belly for Bhopal Badshahs
- Delhi Wizards upset favourites Bhopal Badshahs 3-1
- Shakeel Abassi, Victo K Singh, Vikram Kanth strike for Wizards
- Casey Henwood strikes lone goal for Badshahs
- 150th-goal milestone comes up in the 30th Match of the Bridgestone WSH
Watching Bhopal Badshahs’ solid goalkeeper Baljit Singh, who has conceded the least number of goals in the tournament, practice his drills before the match convinced one that the Badshahs would continue their fine run against Delhi Wizards, who were struggling before this match. However, the beauty of the Bridgestone World Series Hockey is such that no team can afford to relax as the tournament continues to witness a see-saw battle amongst both the frontrunners and the bottom-rung teams alike. To end the suspense, Delhi Wizards won the match comfortably 3-1 here at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium on Thursday.
Gasping for survival in the tournament, Delhi Wizards showed urgency in both attack and defence till they finally sealed the match. The last eight minutes of the match saw the hosts play tentatively as they conceded four penalty-corners one after another with one player less on the field. However, their indefatigable defence managed to hold on to their nerves and even launched a counterattack to puncture the Bhopal citadel for the third time in the match.
Wizards struck a brace early and kept the pace throughout the match, and then nailed the last nail in the coffin of Badshahs in the last minute as well. Victo Singh, Shakeel Abbasi and Vikram Kanth scored for the home side while Casey Henwood accounted for the lone reply for the Badshahs.
Victo Singh symbolized the early tune and tenor of the play with exciting run downs on the right flank, and in tandem with new sensation Upendra Pillay. Fittingly, the Manipur marvel struck the first goal. He sent the ball in with a hard diagonal push even as he was falling. Shakeel tried to firm up the goal with a gentle nudge, but the angle was so acute it didn’t need Shakeel’s effort to find its home.
Unstoppable Shakeel extended the lead. Philp Sunkel, at the centre of the circle, was expecting him to send the pass in a quick surge, but the gifted striker looked at him while directly dispatching his forehand on the other side. It was the goal in its deceptive best.
Wily Casey Henwood of New Zealand caught the entire Delhi defence napping in the 21st minute to respond.
Even as the goalkeeper Kamaldeep Singh was trying to cover him up close on the right baseline, holding one hand on the right post, Casey nudged the ball so cleverly that it rolled into the cage through a very narrow gap that existed between Kamaldeep and the post. Delhi defence buckled when faced with the first test, though a minute later the same goalie blocked two close rebounds to deny another equalizer for the visitors.
Darryl called a time out timely to spoil the momentum of Bhopal which was acquiring venom in enormous proportion. In the early moments of last quarter, Waseem Ahmed set up two moves but the forwards fumbled much to the agony of Badshah’s bench. Jaswinder, Vikaram Kanth and Vikramjeet came out with their best to keep the cage intact.
Sameer Dad messed up his own move which he created effortlessly in the 60th minute, but delayed his push to strike even after drawing goalie out of the cage, and saw him fall early in a desperate but harried attempt to block him. Badshahs did not glorify with themselves when they missed out four successive penalty corner midway through the fourth quarter.
Schedule for March 16
: Sher-E-Punjab vs Chandigarh Comets in Surjeet Singh Stadium, Jalandhar at 7pm; Mumbai Marines vs Karnataka Lions at MAH Mahindra Stadium, Mumbai, 9pm. Live on Neo Sports and Neo Cricket.