Mumbai Magicians began their HIL campaign with a tough away match to Delhi Waveriders and were without their Pakistani contingent after the players were sent back to Pakistan, citing safety reasons following the protests of Shiv Sena at their training grounds in Mumbai.
Delhi once again started the match at a high tempo and had the majority of the possession although Mumbai were resolute in their defence and trapped the ball well, which made up for a rather boring first quarter of play. It saw both teams almost neutralising each other’s offences with Mumbai happy to sit back and wait for their chances.
The second quarter saw Delhi press more and they were getting into dangerous positions with Yuvraj and Chandi combining well on either flanks to cause a lot of problems for the Mumbai backs. But once again, poor finishing kept them from scoring and it seemed they would go into the Half with the score at 0-0 when three minutes before time, they earned a penalty corner. Rupinder Pal Singh, one of Jugraj Singh’s protégé, stepped up and made it count after slotting a fast shot to top right of the goal, giving Mumbai goal-keeper no time to react and Delhi went into the half with a 1-0 lead and a vociferous crowd behind them.
The second half saw Delhi attack more as the Mumbai midfield comprising of Mathew Butterini, Aiyappa and Sandeep Singh found it tough to control the likes of Sardara and Gurbaj. Simon Child once again missed a golden chance when he found himself alone in the box with acres of free space, only to hit a shot high and wide. It seemed that Delhi might turn in a similar performance as they did against Punjab, but their attack soon bore fruit. South African Lloyd Norris-Jones found himself free in the box and coolly finished the ball past a charging Sreejesh to all but confirm the win for Delhi with seven minutes left in the third quarter.
Mumbai suddenly started attacking and quickly won a Penalty Corner which was converted by the marquee player and captain Sandeep Singh to reduce the deficit to 2-1. He bombed the ball to the top left corner of the goal and Delhi somehow hung on to that score till the end of the quarter. The fourth quarter saw more attacking and the Delhi players seemed to wilt under pressure as errors crept in and trappings suddenly started getting converted into silly fouls, with coack AK Bansal growing increasingly nervous at the sidelines. Mumbai then earned a Penalty Stroke in the last minute of the match, giving them hope to salvage a draw. But captain Sandeep struck the post and Delhi hung on for a narrow and hard fought victory.
Turning point of the match: Sandeep missing the penalty stroke in the last minute of the match, as that could have altered the final result. He hit the ball strongly to the right of the goal but the ball ricocheted off the right post and hit the left post before it was parried away by Delhi goal-keeper Nicolas Jacobi to the delight of the home fans and the team.
Final Score : Delhi (Lloyd Jones,Rupinder Pal Singh) 2-1 Mumbai (Sandeep Singh)
Next Match: Delhi will take on Uttar Pradesh Wizards in Lucknow on the 19th January and the Magicians will travel to Ranchi to take on the Rhinos on the 18th January.