Warsi’s drag-flicks steals the thunder
Pakistani star helps Chennai Cheetahs down Delhi Wizards 5-2
Imran Warsi’s brace of penalty corner goals together with an array of field goals led Chennai Cheetahs to post an impressive 5-2 win over home side Delhi Wizards here in the Bridgeston World Series Hockey on Monday.
The home side had enough energy to go up 2-0 till the 34th minute but its defence fell like a pack of cards in the last two quarters to give up the fight.
Philip Sunkel stuck two goals in two minutes (32 and 34 min) to put Delhi on ascendancy but Imran Warsi’s brace (47, 53 min) helped not only to neutralize them but also go to up, as in the dying moments of third quarter (35 min) Joseph Rearson would punch one.
Delhi, despite huge crowd support, did not have it in them the required fresh legs to face the sustained onslaught of Jose Brasa’s Chennai boys.
Veteran Vikram Pillay set up two unmistakable moves that saw two goals come up for Chennai in the 55th and 60th minutes that once for all decided today’s winner.
Adam Sinclair first scored (4-2) on the run after receiving gem of a feed from Vikaram Pillay and then Sandeep Antil, twin brother of international Mandeep Antil, sent a close range reverse shot to seal the fate of Delhi (5-2).
The game came alive in the last five minutes of second quarter which witnessed three quick goals.
Local lad Bruno Lugun set up Philip Sunkel to sink the first goal after the otherwise precise Chennai defence committed a faux pass near the circle (31min, 1-0). Within two minutes Sunkel came with another gem of a goal in a melee. After seeing goalie Jasbir Singh rushing early, and left the cage unguarded, he calmly sent the ball home through a gentle forehand jab from close range (33min, 2-0) and threw his hands up for the team to celebrate.
However, even as Delhi supporters’ thunderous applaud rent the air, Chennai turned the tables on the Wizards. It was Joseph Rearson who sent the ball from left of circle to the right corner of the net, the acute angle of which stunning goalie Kamaldeep Singh (34 min, 2-1) to no end.
With two of the world’s cherished coaches in charge of teams – Jose Brasa of Spain for Chennai Cheetahs and The Netherlands’ Roelant Oltmans for the home side – today’s contest was expected to be one of tactical superiority and it was so. But Roelant’s team lacked fitness to last four quarters.
Imran got a chance to put his side on his own in the 21st minute, but the lethal striker got the direction of his penalty corner shot wrong.
The ball went inches off the right post.
He was again frustrated in the 42nd minute in the second penalty corner. Kamaldeep Singh, who had his formative hockey on this ground, took the grounder on his body, and was also alert enough to clear the rebound shot. He was simply unstoppable.
But he had to bow before Imran shortly later. Adam and Vikram Pillay brought another penalty corner of which Imran sent a high ball to clear the long lasting lead (47min, 2-2).
Unstoppable Imran struck another at the dying moments of third quarter off fourth penalty corner (53 min, 3-2).
When Pillay moved upfront often and set up moves, two forwards lunged forward to connect and Adam was successful (55 min, 4-2).
Delhi came with some replies, but the Chennai defence would not crack.
Even Bikramjit’s penalty corner shots were blunted by the youngster Jasbir Singh in the cage.
The fate of the match was decided midway through the last quarter when Sandeep dispatched in a crowded defence a blinder for the team’s fifth goal (60 min, 5-2).