AS THE SAYING GOES, the Delhi Waveriders saved their best for the last as a solid team performance helped them thrash Kalinga Lancers 6-0 in the final pool phase match of the Hockey India League (HIL) and enter the semi-finals at a packed Shivaji Stadium here on Wednesday.
Field goals from skipper Simon Child and Parvinder Singh and a brace from drag-flicker Rupinder Pal Singh helped the Waveriders earn a 6-0 win. Field goals count for two in this edition of the HIL.
But the real star of the match was Waveriders goalkeeper Devon Manchester who once again maintained his form to help the hosts gain five points from the contest and rise from sixth and last in the standings to finish third and qualify for the semis, which will be played in Ranchi on Saturday.
The Lancers had qualified earlier for the knockouts as they finished fourth in the standings while defending champions and Jaypee Punjab Warriors finished first and second. Dabang Mumbai and Uttar Pradesh Wizards meanwhile were knocked out of the competition.
Both teams started on a slow note as the outfits were playing some risk-free and defensive hockey in the first quarter of the game.
But the action really picked up in the second quarter. In the 16th minute, Lancers defender Gurjinder Singh pushed in a ball into the Waveriders' penalty area, but it was saved Manchester.
This time on the counter-attack, the hosts managed to earn the first penalty corner of the match in the 18th minute. Rupinder did not disappoint and converted the chance by sliding the ball past the bottom right of Lancers goalie Andrew Charter.
Meanwhile, Manchester continued his show as he managed another brilliant save in the 28th minute to maintain the Delhi-based team's 1-0 lead. The New Zealand custodian was at it once again as he dived to his right during a Lancers' penalty corner to save one more as the half-time hooter went off.
It did not take Rupinder much time to make it 2-0 at the start of the third quarter (33rd minute and soon enough skipper Child’s field goal (34th) made it 4-0.
Manchester, meanwhile, continued his run, saving another in the 38th minute to make sure the Lancers did not get on the board.
The hosts earned a fantastic chance in the dying minutes of the match when Talwinder Singh outfoxed Landers goalkeeper Charter to pass the ball to Parvinder Singh (56th) who had no difficulty in scoring yet another goal for the Waveriders to make it 6-0.