Thakur dazzles for Shers

Punjab edge Mumbai to soar to the top of the table

Star frontliner Deepak Thakur struck twice in the space of six minutes to power Sher-e-Punjab to a 3-2 victory over Mumbai Marines and to the top of the league table in the World Series Hockey here on Wednesday.

The two-time Olympian beat his former India team-mate Adrian D’Souza, under the Marines bar, in the 56th and 62nd minutes to help Punjab register a well-deserved win.

Thakur’s double strike helped Punjab to a 3-1 advantage after the teams were locked at 1-1 before Devinder Walmiki’s penalty corner strike two minutes from the hooter narrowed the margin of defeat for the Marines.

Earlier, medio Tariq Aziz scored in the second minute for Punjab, which was neutralised by Joga Singh’s effort in the 12th minute.

The victory took Punjab’s points tally to 13 from seven games, the same as Bhopal Badshahs, who were pushed to the second spot because of Punjab’s superior goal difference.

Gurjinder strikes

In New Delhi, a penalty corner conversion by Gurjinder Singh in the dying minutes gave Chandigarh Comets a 1-0 victory over hosts Delhi Wizards at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.

The match was heading towards a goalless draw when Gurjinder struck his eighth goal of the tournament, converting Comet’s third penalty corner with a firm hit in the 63th minute.

This was Delhi’s fourth loss after seven matches. With seven points, they are languishing in the penultimate place. Chandigarh Comets have 11 points from seven matches.

The goal briefly brought the match to life after the first three quarters had witnessed the teams wasting chances.

In the barren first half, Delhi  got a  penalty corner as early in the fifth minute but Vikramjeet Singh’s flick was well saved by goalkeeper Harjot Singh.

Harjot came up with another brilliant save when German Philip Sunkel, on being fed from the left, took a shot from close range. Bharat Chhikara was the vital cog for Comets and crafted couple of potent moves. The Comets were rewarded for their hard work in the 32nd minute when a sudden foray fetched them a penalty corner but Jiwa Mohan failed to convert.

Delhi started the second half in aggressive fashion but failed to get the desired finish. Comets then got their second penalty corner in the 55th minute but they once again messed it up.The hosts could have nosed ahead when Rajpal Singh, sprinting from the left, found Sunkel, who flicked the ball to Manoj Antil, only to see the opportunity wasted.

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