Star drag-flicker Rupinder Pal Singh was in terrific form as he scored two match winning goals via penalty corners as Delhi Waveriders opened their campaign with a 5-4 victory over Jaypee Punjab Warriors in a closely contested Hockey India League match at Chandigarh
Rupinder struck in the 24th and 36th minutes while Canadian Mark Pearson scored from another penalty corner in the 28th minute after Yuvraj Walmiki had given Waveriders the lead in the ninth minute via a field goal, which was counted as two goals under the new tournament rules. For the Warriors, Matthew Gohdes scored a field goal in the 10th minute before Christopher Ciriello (29th minute) and Mark Gleghorne (54th) found the target from penalty corners.
The Delhi-based team took the lead in the ninth minute through a brilliant reverse hit from Walmiki but the home side struck back in the next minute through a Gohdes’ field goal as both sides ended the first quarter equally balanced at 2-2. But after that, the Waveriders never allowed their opponents to dominate the match and the Warriors had to play catch-up in front of their home crowd.
The Waveriders got a penalty corner in the 24th minute after some end-to-end hockey in the second quarter and Rupinder stepped up to convert it with a beautiful drag-flick and give his side the lead again. Four minutes later, the Waveriders got another penalty corner and Pearson deflected it to the Warriors goal to make the scoreline 4-2 in favour of the visiting team.
The home side pulled one back in the next minute (29th) with Australian Ciriello converting a penalty corner as the two sides went into the half time break with the Waveriders leading 4-3. The latter half of the match saw lesser number of goals but action was not lacking as the two sides tried to dominate the other.
Rupinder made himself count again when it mattered the most as he struck again in the third quarter (36th minute) to gave the Waveriders a 5-3 lead. The match began slipping away from the home side and despite scoring a goal in the final quarter (54th) through Gleghorne, they ended at the losing side.