Sardar Singh-led, Delhi Waveriders emerged the Champions of Hero Hockey India League post an exciting game of hockey which was both intense and nail-biting. The Delhi outfit, which co-owned by the Wave Group and bollywood actor John Abram, was successful in keeping their nerves intact to beat Jaypee Punjab Warriors in the penalty shoot-out to lift the glittering trophy at the Astroturf Hockey Stadium in Ranchi.
Earlier in the day, the defending champions, Ranchi Rhinos defeated Uttar Pradesh Wizards on shoot-out to finish third in this edition
The Grand Finale of Hero Hockey India League even witnessed the presence of many eminent dignitaries at Ranchi today. FIH President, Leandro Negre was seen in the VIP box alongwith FIH CEO, Kelly Fairweather. Also present for the occasion were Rajiv Shukla, Member Governing Council, Hero Hockey India League and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Arun Jaitley, Member Governing Council, Hero Hockey India League and Leader of Opposition, Rajya Sabha, Dr Narinder Batra, Chairman, Hero Hockey India League, Rajeev Mehta, Associate Vice President, Hero Hockey India League and Secretary General, IOA.
While Bollywood Actor and Co-owner of Delhi Waveriders, John Abraham, was seen at the dugout egging his team to go for the win.
Delhi Waveriders rode on goalkeeper Nicolas Jacobi’s brilliant show under the bar to eke out a hard-fought 3-1 win over Jaypee Punjab Warriors in the shoot-out after the two teams ended the regulation time locked at 3-3.
In the shoot-out, Jaypee Punjab Warriors failed to get past an agile Jacobi in the first three attempts before Robert Hammond found the back of the net. But it came too late as Delhi Waveriders scored three out of their four shots to emerge as the champions.
Earlier, Jaypee Punjab Warriors made a dream start to the encounter and broke the deadlock in the second minute of the match through Mark Knowles’ field goal.
Trailing by a goal, Delhi Waveriders went on the offensive and earned a penalty corner soon, only to waste the opportunity.
From being 0-1 down, Delhi Waveriders went into half time leading 2-1 by scoring two goals in a span of three minutes.
First Llyod Norris Jones’ leveled the scores with a field goal in the 33rd minute after he was fed by Akashdeep Singh before skipper Sardar Singh (35th minute) registered his name in the scoresheet after a long hiatus through a rebound from a penalty corner.
But Jaypee Punjab Warriors struck twice in the third quarter through two field goals from Shivendra Singh (45th minute) and young Affan Yousuf (48th minute) to restore their lead.
It, however, did not take too long for Delhi Waveriders to level the scores. Yuvraj Walmiki (52nd minute) made the scoreline 3-3 by slotting home after receiving a diagonal pass from Andres Mir Bel.
Jaypee Punjab Warriors were in complete control of the fourth and final quarter but they failed to convert their chances into goal. Delhi Waveriders, on the other hand, relied on counter-attacks but they too failed to trouble the scorers as the match went into shoot-out.
The win made Delhi Waveriders richer by Rs. 2.5 crore, while the Warriors will pocket Rs. 1.25 crore for finishing in the second position.
YES Bank Garv Award winner –Mark Knowles, JPW
Man of the Match –Nicolas Jacobi, DWR
Hero Goal of the Match Award –Norris Jones Lloyd, DWR
Speaking post the match a very happy Sardar Singh, said “A very close match today. For is it was to go all out but also keep our patience in place. We will enjoy the win and gear up for the next tournament.”
A satisfied Cedric D’Spuza, Head Coach, Delhi waveriders said “we lost the finals last year and this time we were filled with fire and the urge to win. We had a hard match today, but we planned and executed our strategy well today. It is time to enjoy the victory”
Speaking post the match, Head Coach, Barry Dancer, JPW said “the team played very well today and we dominated the match for a long period of time. We somehow were not as aggressive as the opponents today. Though this was the best game of the tournament and I am proud of this team.”
Jamie Dywer, Captain, Jaypee Punjab Warriors said “When you lose a game in short arm its rather not very disappointing. It was a great game and we played well and gave our best shot”.