HIL: Dabang Mumbai deflates Delhi Waveriders to reach maiden final

The 2-0 result may indicate a close game but it was virtually a one-way street with Mumbai making most of the moves, creating the chances and largely staying in Delhi's half.

Robbert Kemperman of Dabang Mumbai exults after striking a field goal over Delhi Waveriders during the Hockey India League semifinal match against Delhi Waveriders in Chandigarh on Saturday.   -  Akhilesh Kumar

Dabang Mumbai continued its winning momentum to reach its maiden final of the Hockey India League with a 2-0 win against former champion Delhi Waveriders here on Saturday.

As the team with maximum goals and wins through the league stages and reaching the semifinals of the HIL for the first time ever, Mumbai was determined to go all the way. The result may indicate a close game but it was virtually a one-way street with Mumbai making most of the moves, creating the chances and largely staying in Delhi's half. In fact, Delhi was saved the blushes and a much larger margin of defeat by the goalposts – twice Mumbai's shots came off them – and goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch, who denied Mumbai a series of penalty corners.

Other than that, there was little to show Delhi was anywhere in the game all through. It wasted three PCs and even a penalty stroke awarded after Mandeep Singh was elbowed by Tyron Pereira in the 27th minute. It was the best and only clear chance the team had to go level after Robbert Kemperman had stopped the ball outside the circle and dragged it all the way in a minute earlier earlier. But Iain Lewers' shot was saved by David Harte, the FIH Goalkeeper of the year, who proved why the Irishman was so highly rated.

At the other end, Mumbai kept coming in waves and kept creating chances. It earned six penalty corners but more than that, it were the open chances going waste that would rankle Jay Stacy's men. Johan Bjorkman saw his shot come off the post from close range in the 50th minute and, two minutes later, Affan Yousuf saw a repeat with his own shot. Gurjant Singh and Nikkin Thimmaiah had their own chances but could not convert.

Delhi, meanwhile, well-served by its defence so far, was a team lost on the field. It could not build up the attacks, Mandeep Singh hardly had space to run upfront, the defenders were repeatedly beaten on the run and Rupinderpal Singh and Justin Reid-Ross couldn't convert PCs. Nothing went right for the former champion, which would now take on UPW in the third-place playoff, even as Mumbai reinforced its credentials as favourite to win the title this time around when it faces Kalinga Lancers in the final. For a team that repeatedly finished at the bottom of the table so far, that would be the perfect turnaround.

The result: Dabang Mumbai 2 (Robbert Kemperman 2 FG) bt Delhi Waveriders 0.