The runners-up of the inaugural edition, Waveriders started from where they left last year and kept their record by winning all 5 encounters against the Warriors.
It was nice to see the likes of Arjun Halappa, Rajpal Singh, Vikram Pillay in action for Delhi team, as youngsters stole the show. The opening goal of the 2nd HIL came from the stick of Talwindar Singh for the Waveriders, while young charismatic forward from Bhopal Affan Yousuf equalized for the Warriors.
It was the brace of Jason Wilson and a man of the match performance by Delhi Waveriders Goalkeeper Hamish McGregor, which won the game for new look Delhi franchise.
The 2nd edition of HHIL was inaugurated in a dazzling ceremony at Mohali before the opening match where Nitin Kukreja, Head of Sports Business, Star India pronounced the League 2014 open as Olympian Sardar Pargat Singh, MLA, Government of Punjab and Secretary Hockey Punjab unveiled the trophy to the city crowd.
The opening ceremony included all the required fanfare and masala, with Nargis Fakri, the Bollywood stunner of Rockstar fame, sizzling on famous lilting numbers like Balam Pichkari and Radha. Her performance was preceded by astounding laser show that covered the Mohali sky as this all was broadcasted live by the official broadcasters of the League – Star Sports.
Gaurav, the mascot for Hero HIL also made his presence felt waving to the crowd during the opening ceremony. He represents the pride that is associated with Hockey in the country.
Dr Narinder Batra, Chairman, Hero HIL in his opening remarks said, ‘“I feel honored today that I am associated with Hockey and have been part of the efforts in ensuring that hockey becomes a household entertainment for everyone. When we started Hockey India League, we were not sure how will the League be accepted by the audience and fans. But after the tremendous success of 2013, this year we saw many Corporate coming forward and showing enthusiasm in associating with the game and believing in our faith. I would also like to thank Hero for their support towards the League and Star India for the investment that they are making towards the sport”
The laser show depicted a short montage on Hero Hockey India League and the six franchisees. It showed the first edition of Hockey India League with its results, goals scored by various players, the crowds that viewed the match LIVE at the 5 franchise stadiums and the first Champions lifting the trophy of Hockey India League – Ranchi Rhinos.
The excitement for the evening continued with US artists performing Human Slinky which was a colorful as well as a comical and high-energy act which left the crowd and viewers mesmerized. This was the first time such an was performed in India.
The ceremony ended on a high note and with a promise that Hero Hockey India League will be as entertaining and high voltage as its opening performance, which followed by an entertaining match, which the visitors Delhi Waveriders won by 3-1 against hosts Jaypee Punjab Warriors.
The Waveriders will head to Ranchi to face the defending champions Ranchi Rhinos on Monday, while Punjab Warriors take on Dabur Mumbai Magicians at Mohali tomorrow and Rhinos face Uttar Pradesh Wizards in Ranchi (Full Schedule Here).
Elated at the win, Cedric D’souz, Coach of Delhi Waveriders said, “Overall performance of the team was fabulous. It was great team effort and entire team played well. Boys gave few soft corners in the game which we will try to eradicate in future. We will try to improve our defense and to keep putting pressure on the ball. It is the first match of the tournament and the team started on winning note. Now we will try to keep our team’s posture balanced since it is a small baby step toward final win.”
Sardar Singh, Captain of Delhi Waveriders said, “First game of every tournament is very significant for every team and we won it. It is a motivation booster for team. In the first half team was not very active but in the second half team came back in wonderful manner. Team did make a few mistakes in the game as we did not get enough time for practice. We will improve upon these mistakes in future and will try to keep this spirit up.”
Captain of Jaypee Punjab Warriors, Jamie Dwyer said, “We have to be much more focused. Some players lost focus today and we had to pay the price for it. We dominated in the first half today and were a better team. However, in the second half we were just not there. We have learnt from this match and we will improve upon our weak areas so that our win in subsequent matches is ensured.”
Barry Dancer, Coach of Jaypee Punjab Warriors said, “I am disappointed at the loss today. But, we are going to get better and better, game after game, that’s what the tournament is all about. We made vital errors. Our mistakes gave them an opportunity to score goals. We will analyse our mistakes today and make a turnaround. Sandeep Singh has the ability to make passes. He is world-class and I am sure he will score goals in coming matches.”