New Delhi based freelance journalist and hockey lover K. Arumugam is the founder editor
A science graduate from the Presidency College (Chennai) and a post-graduate from prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (Bombay) in Geology and Hydrology, Arumugam has been professionally a water expert. He has taken volunteer retirement from a lucrative government job and is devoting full time for hockey.
Facile win for Chandigarh Comets
Outplayed and outmanoeuvred, Chennai Cheetahs tumbled to its sixth defeat in 12 matches on Monday. The 3-0 reverse against Chandigarh Comets renders the Chennai team’s chances of making the semifinal grade grim in the World Series of Hockey (WSH) now into the home stretch for the final, likely to be in Mumbai, on April 1.
While there was precious little to commend either in the approach work or the defensive competence of the Chennai outfit, the Comets, led by the Pakistani ace, Rehan Butt, showed the grit, determination and the ability to ward off dangerous moments with equanimity to reach the winning post.
Put ahead in the early minutes by Amir Khan, whose opportunism from a well conceived move culminated in the goal, the Comets, coached by the former national coach, Harendra Singh, left nothing to chance. The frontline functioned with methodical efficiency thanks to the incisive moves by Butt and the quick sallies on the left flank by Amir.
In the mid-field, Malaysia’s Jiwa Mohan showed that touch of assurance in his tackles as did the sweeper, the gangling Aussie, Matthew Philiips. However, a special word for goal-keeper Harjot Singh is not out of place here. Athletic and intrepid he was a picture of confidence in his work under the bar.
That Chennai, possessing in its fold that renowned striker, Imran Warsi, failed to convert even one of the nine penalty corners is a tribute to the performance of Harjot.
Gurjinder Singh lived up to his reputation as a ferocious striker of penalty corners when he enlarged the midway through the first quarter. This was his 12th goal in the competition.
Briefly, Chennai showed signs of a comeback. Propelled by the neat wing play by Vikas Sharma, the attack displayed a veneer of vigour that brought a spate of penalty corners. At one point, Chennai had four of them in succession but the defenders held on gallantly. Only once did the shot by Warsi hit the post and bounced back into play. In control
Expectations that Chennai outfit will pull itself back into the fight slowly evaporated as the tie match meandered in a prosaic format. The Comets controlled the trend and widened the margin in the third quarter. A whiplash of a shot by Gurjinder Singh struck Vikram Pillay in front of the goal. The Canadian Sukhwinder Singh converted without a hint of anxiety.
Clearly weary and unable to do anything constructive, the Cheetahs slowly gave away even as the Comets emerged as a runaway winner.
With an aggregate of 22 points from 12 encounters, Chandigarh Coments can count itself as a prospective semifinalist. On the contrary, Cheetahs is stuck at 16 points from 12. It must be hoping for miracle when it meets Delhi Wizards on March 28 here.
The result: Chandigarh Comets 3 (Amir Khan, Gurjinder Singh, Sukhwinder Singh) beat Chennai Cheetahs 0.
Tuesday’s matches: Pune Strykers v Sher-E-Punjab, Pune, 7 p.m.; Bhopal Badshahs v Karnataka Lions, Bhopal, 9 p.m