The second edition of the Hockey India League began with hosts Jaypee Punjab Warriors taking on Delhi Waveriders at the International Hockey Stadium in Mohali. After a splendid opening ceremony which saw a laser show and performance by actress Nargis Fakri, it was time for the action in the middle. The match lived upto its hype where the visitors Delhi Waveriders humbled hosts Jaypee Punjab Warriors by a margin of 3 goals to 1. Let’s have a look at the heroes and flops of the match
Heroes of the day
Australia’s Jason Wilson was the star of the match, scoring two crucial goals for the Delhi Waveriders, which also ensured that the Delhi side started their HIL campaign on a winning note. The Australian striker scored his first goal at a vital juncture of the match, when both teams were locked at 1-1. His first goal was from close range after he was perfectly set-up by Akashdeep Singh inside Punjab’s striking circle. He scored his second goal in the 68th minute, which proved to be the final nail in Punjab’s coffin. Wilson was named the player of the match for his two goals.
India’s 20-year old Talwinder Singh scored the first goal of the match for the Delhi Waveriders. The youngster struck the first blow in the 29th minute of the match; a brilliant field goal from the top of Punjab’s circle. His goal meant that Punjab were on the backfoot and had to play catch up hockey for the rest of the game.
Although Punjab Warriors lost the match, youngster Affan Yousuf’s field goal to put Punjab back on level terms, showed that this youngster is one of the future stars of Indian hockey. He showed glimpses of brilliance today, and will surely be one of the players to watch out for for the rest of the tournament
Flops of the day
The star dragflicker was bought by Punjab during the auctions last year and he was expected to deliver the goods for his side. But Sandeep was off colour today, and could not convert a single penalty corner for Punjab. Whenever he walked up to take the shot, he was either off target or was easily defended by the Delhi side. Sandeep will have to fire if Punjab want to win the HIL this year.
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The Dutch goalkeeper of Punjab Warriors, Jaap Stockmann, had an off-day, where he let go two goals. Considered one of the best in the world right now, Stockmann lived upto the expectations of the Punjab side. It will be interesting to see whether Punjab Warriors replaces Stockmann and starts with Indian goalkeeper Bharat Chettri for the next match against Mumbai Magicians.