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Punjab face Delhi in final

Ranchi: Delhi Waveriders will lock horns with Punjab Warriors in the summit clash of the second edition of Hero Hockey India League (HIL) after registering hard-fought victories in their respective semi-finals, here, on Saturday.

The Waveriders rode Yuvraj Walmiki’s lone goal in the 15th minute to beat Uttar Pradesh Wizards in the first semi-final.

Later, dragflicker Sandeep Singh struck twice to hand Warriors a 3-2 win in the high-voltage second semi-final to dash the hopes of defending champions Ranchi Rhinos in front of a packed stadium.

If the first semi-final was a quiet affair, the second semi-final between the Rhinos and the Warriors produced fast and exciting hockey, much to the delight of the capacity crowd.

It was Sandeep (24th minute, 52nd minute) who converted a couple of short corners while Jake Whetton (55th) scored a classy field goal with a powerful strike from top right of the D to register a come-from-behind win and shatter the home team’s hopes.

The two goals consolidated Sandeep’s lead at the top of the goalscorers’ chart with a tally of 11 goals.

For the Rhinos, Ashley Jackson converted a penalty corner in the 19th minute while Floris Evers (58th) scored the other goal. Such was the intensity of the match that Rhinos’ Manpreet Singh and Warriors Gurmail Singh literally came to blows in the final quarter.

The Warriors also need to thank their goalkeeper Jaap Stockmann for the win as he made a brilliant save in the final minute of the match to keep his side’s lead intact.