Pune: Vidarbha captain Imran Sheikh fired five goals as the team from Nagpur thrashed Gujarat 10-2 and made a strong claim for the quarterfinal slot from Pool D, in the National ‘B’ of the 5th Hockey India Senior Men’s National Hockey championship at the Balewadi Hockey Ground here on Tuesday.
Vidarbha, which drew against Bengal on Monday, now has plus-8 goal average and will await for the outcome of Bengal versus Gujarat match on Friday. Bengal needs to win by more than 8-goal margin to qualify.
Delhi left no such mathematics to decide their fate as they romped to 7-2 win against Assam and qualified for the quarterfinals from Pool B. Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir also registered wins, but their fate hangs in balance as they had lost their opening matches on Monday.
Vidarbha began the match with a view to make it difficult for Bengal. Captain Sheikh drew the first blood in the third minute of the match before Aamir Khan made it 2-0.
A nasty infringement in the box by Gujarat led to penalty stroke being awarded, which Imran converted with ease. Goals rained in then on as Gujarat defence found it difficult to arrest Vidarbha’s attacks.
Two consolation goals by Gujarat after being 10-0 down hardly made any difference to the outcome, but if Bengal were to make through on Friday, Vidarbha will rue allowing Gujarat to score when the chips were all in their favour.
Delhi continued their dominant play to beat Assam 7-2 in a Pool B league match on Tuesday.
Led by goalkeeper Ravinder Kharb, Delhi was shaken from slumber after having beaten Andaman and Nicobar with a huge 18-0 margin on Monday. Assam nudged Delhi early on when Rituraj Boro scored a field goal in the 2nd minute to put his team ahead.
That goal was enough to wake up Delhi as Satender Dalal found an equalizer two minutes later scoring a neat field goal. The two teams tested each other for a while before Simpinder Singh, who starred on Monday with three goals against Andaman, put Delhi ahead in the 27th minute.
In a textbook penalty corner, Simpinder sounded the boards with a clean hit that gave Delhi 2-1 half-time lead.
On resumption, Delhi was a different side as Satender took charge and let his stick do the talking. He scored three goals in the second half for a haul of four from the match. Striker Deepak Kumar added his bit to Delhi’s dominance as he scored field goals in the 41st and 48th minutes. Boro found his second goal in the 52nd minute, but Assam was comprehensively beaten by the much stronger Delhi.
Jammu and Kashmir too scored seven goals in downing Kerala, in an identical score-line just as Delhi, in a Pool C match.
Mandeep Singh scored three goals after opening the account for his team in the sixth minute of the match. He doubled the lead two minutes later before the penalty corner specialist Satwant Singh made it 3-0 in the 17th minute.
Kerala pulled one back through Faris Mon P in the 25th minute but the writing on the wall was clear. On resumption Jammu and Kashmir went all out with Mandeep scoring his third goal and Satwant completing his brace. In between Survinder Singh (39th and 56th minutes) scored to leave Kerala defence in tatters.
In Pool A, Rajasthan, which narrowly lost to Manipur on Monday redeemed themselves with a 3-1 win over Tripura. Pradeep Naruka scored in the fifth minute to open Rajasthan’s account before Noor ul Islam scored for Triupra to draw level in the 22nd minute.
Ten minutes in to the second half Devanshu Rawat made it 2-1 before Vishesh Kumar (49th) scored the winning goal.
Rajasthan’s progress to the quarterfinals will, however, depend on Manipur’s last league match against Tripura on Wednesday. Manipur needs a simple draw to move ahead.
Pool A: Rajasthan 3 (Pradeep Naruka 5th, Devanshu Rawat 40th, Vishesh Kumar 49th) beat Tripura 1 (Noor ul Islam 22nd). HT: 1-1.
Pool B: Delhi 7 (Satender Dalal 4th, 33rd, 49th, 60th, Simpinder Singh 27th, Deepak Kumar 41st, 48th) beat Assam 2 (Rituraj Boro 2nd, 52nd). HT: 2-1.
Pool C: Jammu and Kashmir 7 (Mandeep Singh 6th, 8th, 34th, Satwant Singh 17th, 41st, Survinder Singh 39th, 56th) beat Kerala 2 (Faris Mon P 25th, 48th). HT: 3-1.
Pool D: Vidarbha 10 (Imran Sheikh 3rd, 14th, 19th, 39th, 46th, Aamir Khan 8th, 26th, 32nd, Rahul Kalaloti 22nd, Shaibaz Sheikh 36th) bt Gujarat 2 (Aashish Dave 52nd, Kiran Thapa 59th). HT 8-0
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