| Ranchi Rhinos players celebrate after winning the semi-final against UP Wizards, in Ranchi, on Saturday |
Ranchi: Delhi Waveriders on Saturday scored a clinical 3-1 win over Jaypee Punjab Warriors to set up the title clash against Ranchi Rhinos in the inaugural Hockey India League, here.
The Delhi outfit rode on goals from Andres Mir Bel (14th minute), Rupinder Pal Singh (32nd) and Lloyd Norris Jones (67th) to outclass the Warriors in the second semi-final on Saturday at the Astroturf Hockey Stadium.
For the Punjab outfit Jamie Dwyer scored the consolation goal in the 33rd minute.
The Warriors will now face Uttar Pradesh Wizards in the third-fourth place play-off match on Sunday.
Earlier in the first semi-final, Mandeep Singh and Nick Wilson scored a brace each to help the Rhinos beat Wizards 4-2.
The Rhinos scored through field goals from Mandeep (5th minute, 66th) and Wilson (32nd, 64th), while Nithin Thimmaiah (16th, 54th) was the goal-getter for the Wizards.
The second semi-final between the Waveriders and the Warriors witnessed a slow start as both the teams took time to get off their blocks.
Encouraged by a capacity home crowd it was the Rhinos who started the proceedings on a bright note and was soon rewarded for their efforts when Mandeep scored in the fifth minute after latching on to a loose ball inside the Wizards 'D'.
Stunned by the early goal, the UP side pressed hard with numerous raids into the rival citdel but with no purpose till the 16th minute when Thimmaiah equalised for the visitors.
The lanky Thimmaiah brought Wizards back into the game, finding the back of the Rhinos net with a reverse hit after she was beautifully set up by Dutch legend Tuen de Nooijer.
The Rhinos, however, were the better side on display at least in the opening half. The hosts earned as many as four penalty corners in the first two quarters only to be denied by a brilliant George Bazeley under the UP bar.
The Rhinos managed to restore their parity three minutes from the opening half through Nick Wilson who managed to find the back of the UP net from a goal-mouth melee.The Wizards, however, protested the goal and went for the referral which was rejected.
The Wizards got an opportunity to equalise soon when they were awarded their first penalty corner at the stroke of half time, but the visitors wasted the chance to trail 1-2 at the first 35 minutes.
Ranchi started on the same breath after the change of ends and earned their fifth penalty corner in the opening minute of the second half but failed to capitalize on it.