Beginning with a fast-paced game, Jaypee Punjab Warriors handed a humiliating 7-0 defeat to the defending champions Delhi Waveriders in their home league match at Mohali on Saturday. It was a game-plan devised by Head Coach Barry Dancer, from which JPW reaped immense benefits. Taken aback by JPW’s speedy run in the field, DW kept busy in defending themselves even as JPW came up with their first goal in the 10th minute and never looked back thereafter. With next six goals coming one after another, the turn of events left the defending champions with a frustrating shock. It was a morale-boosting turnaround for JPW after their Wednesday’s 1-2 loss against UP Wizards at Lucknow. The Mohali victory also ensures the semifinal berth for Jaypee Punjab Warriors. They now have 28 points and only 3 league matches remain for them.
The first quarter of the match began with a dominant play from JPW, who ensured that they kept the ball with them on most occasions. The attacking tactics paid off in ten minutes with JPW earning a penalty corner. The deadly combination of the iconic Australian Jamie Dwyer and the mercurial Sandeep Singh was enough to put JPW in front. As Jamie sent the ball to Sandeep at the top of the D, India’s top penalty star wasted no time in sounding the board with a forceful strike that left no chance for DW defenders and goalkeeper Rassie Pieterse. The early lead boosted the morale of the team and they fiercely attacked the opponents in the rest of the match. JPW’s second goal came 4 minutes later, when midfielder Gurmail Singh chipped a great aerial pass to his forward SV Sunil, who had reached near the goal-mouth in the meanwhile. Sunil had the presence of mind to deceive the DW goal-keeper as he managed to send the ball into the goal. The 2-0 first quarter lead set the tempo of the match in favour of JPW. When the second quarter play started, DW had changed their tactics and they began with a fighting display to get back in the match. However, despite DW getting some goal-scoring opportunities, the inspired JPW would not allow them much leeway. On the contrary, the aggressive Punjab side was able to create a few counter-attacking moves of their own. There were two close chances that Delhi missed. The first was a penalty corner that was thwarted by JPW’s strong defense but the worst was missing the 27th minute penalty stroke, when DW Star Andrew Hayward failed to convert. The score-sheet read 2-0 at halftime.
The third quarter’s play was even more aggressive as both teams ran into each other’s half with scoring intentions. In the 34th minute, after being raided by DW, Punjab Warriors came up with a surprise counter-attack. Australian midfielder Simon Orchard received a long pass in the D but he had to contend with two DW defenders. Simon, however, was quick as he shot in air and found the net. It was Orchard’s first goal of HHIL 2015 and his successful strike made it 3-0 for JPW. Continuing the momentum, JPW forced a penalty corner in the 45th minute and it was once again Sandeep Singh, who didn’t fail to convert. The third quarter ended with 4-0 in favor of JPW. The last quarter was fast-paced as DW tried desperately to find their foothold and JPW wanting to enhance their tally further. In the 47th minute, JPW earned yet another penalty corner, which was successfully converted to the fifth goal by Australia’s top penalty corner expert Christopher Ciriello. Within three minutes, JPW’s Robert Hammond received the ball inside the goal area and a tactful deflection from his stick made it 6-0 for JPW. The Punjab Warriors did not slow down and they scored another goal in the 53rd minute. It was Sandeep Singh’s third goal of the match as he found the ball at the right spot before flicking it strongly into the goal to complete the 7-0 rout of Delhi Waverider. With this goal, Sandeep also crossed the tournament’s individual tally of Ashely Jackson.