HIL: Delhi Waveriders holds Ranchi Rays

Ranchi had the upper hand for most part of the duel but could not earn a win due to the lack of precision inside the rival circle. Waveriders, which had lost its first match against Kalinga Lancers, should gain some confidence after giving a solid performance.

PTI

Delhi Waveriders and Ranchi Rays (red) in action in the Hockey League match in Ranchi.   -  PTI

Ranchi Rays played out its second draw in four matches after it shared the spoils with Delhi Waveriders in a goalless affair in the Hockey India League (HIL) at the Astroturf Stadium here on Saturday.

Ranchi had the upper hand for most part of the duel but could not earn a win due to the lack of precision inside the rival circle. Waveriders, which had lost its first match against Kalinga Lancers, should gain some confidence after giving a solid performance.

With both sides engaging in a tactical battle, the first two quarters was like a bout of arm-wrestling. Keeping in mind Ranchi's stout midfield, Waveriders held the ball well and kept its defence tight.

The last five minutes of the opening period saw some rapid exchanges. Ranchi explored the gaps and used long passes, while Waveriders answered through counter-attacks. Waveriders was successful in earning a penalty corner in the 13th minute but Austin Smith's shot was deflected away by an alert Timothy Deavin to avert the danger.

The host benefited from the hard work of Kothajit Singh, Birendra Lakra and Vikramjit Singh on the back.

Rays, which used its flanks well under the command of its charismatic captain Ashley Jackson, narrowly missed a scoring chance when Gurbaj Singh grabbed an opportunity on the edge of the circle but his reverse could not find the target in the 16th minute. The seasoned right-half later excelled with his fantastic job in front of his own team's post.

The Waveriders defence, including Rupinderpal Singh and Iain Lewers, held firm, while the young Harjeet Singh chipped in with some close marking.

Towards the closing stages of the second quarter, Rays forward Christopher Ruhr showed glimpses of his brilliance by taking the ball from left, through the centre and then on the left by beating four Delhi markers but did not find any assistance to complete the move.

Waveriders gained another short corner early in the penultimate period. Rupinderpal's shot got deflected towards the goal from Ranchi custodian Tyler Lovell's stick, but Fergus Kavanagh made a spectacular clearance to deny the touring team any advantage.

The fourth period was another episode of Ranchi's raids and the visiting team's show of its steely resolve.

Waveriders defence must get full marks for saving its citadel despite immense pressure applied by Ranchi.

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