Just thirteen matches into the inaugural edition of the Hero Hockey India League, it appears that one franchise is standing head and shoulders above the crowd.
Delhi Waveriders – lead by India superstar Sardar Singh – remain unbeaten in the competition having achieved four victories and one draw in their opening five matches. Their imperious form has opened up a five point lead at the top of the league table, and it is already clear that they may take some stopping in their bid to become the first ever winners of the Hero Hockey India League.
The Waveriders most recent success came on Wednesday when they emerged 5-4 winners in a stunning game at Ranchi Rhinos, a contest described by Sardar as “the best match of the tournament so far”. The Rhinos came into the match with an unbeaten record and the support of one of the most passionate home crowds in the HIL, but that did not stop Delhi from winning a maximum five points thanks to goals from Akashdeep Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh (2), Gurvinder Singh Chandi, and Tim Jenniskens.
The Rhinos bounced back to form on Thursday with an impressive 3-1 win over Uttar Pradesh Wizards. The match will be remembered for a moment of brilliance from Rhinos captain and current FIH Player of the Year Moritz Fürste, who opened the scoring when he produced a spectacular deflection to guide a waist-high cross inside the right post. Incredibly, Fürste missed out on the Goal of the Match award, which was given to a blistering reverse stick shot from fellow Rhino Jason Wilson.
After losing their opening three matches of the competition, Jamie Dwyer’s Jaypee Punjab Warriors have hit a rich vein of form and are starting to threaten the top half of the league table. A 4-2 win against Dabur Mumbai Magicians on Monday was followed up by a draw against Uttar Pradesh Wizards (2-2) on Tuesday before claiming a second win against Mumbai (4-3) on Thursday.
Video highlights of the four most recent matches from the Hero Hockey India League can be found below.
In the race to finish tournament top scorer, Indian international Sandeep Singh is currently leading the way in the scoring chart having netted six times in five games for the Dabur Mumbai Magicians. The Indian international penalty corner expert has been performing well, despite his team being firmly rooted to the bottom of the points table. He is followed by compatriot VR Raghunath (Uttar Pradesh Wizards) and Ashley Jackson (Ranchi Rhinos) who have four goals apiece, with Delhi Waveriders star Rupinder Pal Singh just behind on three. Ranchi Rhinos forward Mandeep Singh has scored the most field goals in the competition, with three open play strikes to his name. To see the full list of scorers, please click here.
For more information about the competition, please visit the official website of the Hero Hockey India League byclicking here.
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