Rupinder Pal Singh produced a rock solid performance as defending champions Delhi Waveriders outclassed Ranchi Rays 2-0 in their must-win clash of the Hero Hockey India League (HHIL) at the Major Dhyan Chand stadium, here today.
Rupinder created a lot of opportunities and was solid as a defender but it was Lloyd Norris-Jones (26 minutes) and Akashdeep Singh (53rd), who emerged as the goalscorers as Delhi took a big step towards qualifying for the play-offs, taking their overall points to 22.
Delhi looked a confident side right from the start as they played great hockey but could not break the Ranchi defence.
After a hard-fought battle in the first quarter, Delhi drew first blood in the second quarter when Norris-Jones broke the deadlock with a smart finish to give Delhi Waveriders the lead.
Ranchi Rays, who were placed second in the table, started the third quarter on a positive note but Delhi still dominated the circle penetration. The hosts earned a penalty corner but Rupinder Pal Singh once again squandered the chance, his 10th of the match.
Ranchi got a penalty corner but Ashley Jackson, joint highest scorer of this edition, couldn’t convert it. Delhi earned another penalty corner but Ranchi’s goalkeeper was upto the task as he staved off a double strike from the hosts.
In the fourth quarter, Simon Child missed the target early on. In the the 53rd minute Akashdeep received it on his leg and he pressed into the net with his backhand flick to score his fourth goal of the tournament and give Delhi a healthy 2-0 lead with still more than seven minutes remaining in the match.
“Day by day we are improving. We combined well today and I hope we will do well in the next game. We need to communicate more, we have good experienced player,” skipper Sardar Singh said after the match.