Raghunath seals third place for Uttar Pradesh Wizards

Ranchi, Feb 11 (IANS) Four goals, including a golden goal from skipper Raghunath right in the last minute of extra time, earned Uttar Pradesh Wizards a 4-3 win over Jaypee Punjab Warriors in an absolute thriller of a third place play-off game of the Hero Hockey India League at Birsa Munda Astroturf Hockey Stadium here Sunday.

Trailing 0-3 at one stage, Wizards came back with Raghunath scoring a hat-trick, all through drag flicks, to force and extra time. Raghunath then scored his fourth from another drag flick to ensure that Wizards got the bronze medal, and earned prize money of Rs.75 lakh.

Jaypee Punjab Warriors completely dominated the first quarter. They showed a lot of intensity and aggression, and were rewarded for it with a couple of goals.

Gurmail Singh entered the Wizards' D, and put the ball on Nithin's leg to earn Warriors their first penalty corner. Mark Knowles took the drag flick, and fired the ball low to the right of diving Bazeley. The ball beat Bazeley for pace and angle and entered the net to give Warriors the lead.

And within less than five minutes, Warriors doubles the lead. Warriors earned their second penalty corner of the game, and once again Knowles took the drag flick. This time Knowles went for an indirect hit, and SV Sunil made a diving connection to beat Bazeley for the second time in the first quarter.

Wizards looked a far better team in the second quarter, coming up with a number of good moves. They entered the Warriors D quite regularly, and it looked like Teun de Noojier pulled one back for them in the last few minutes of the second quarter. Warriors opted for a referral, and replays showed that the ball had hit Somanna's foot before he passed it to De Noojier, and hence, the goal did not stand.

Soon Warriors earned their third penalty corner, and were unlucky not to score their third goal, as the ball hit the wood work. Wizards got their first penalty corner of the day just before the half time, but were unable to trouble Warriors goalkeeper Jaap Stockmann as the drag flick was wayward.

Warriors made it 3-0 early into the third quarter, with a goal from Ranjit Singh. Jamie Dwyer had a chance to take a shot at the goal, but spotted Ranjit who was free. Ranjit got the ball right in front of the goal, and as he was falling down, managed to push the ball inside the goal from the back of his stick after a goalmouth scramble.

Wizards went for a referral, but the TV umpire upheld on-field umpire's decision. Wizards finally opened their account a couple of minutes later, through a penalty corner. One Wizards player played the dummy, and Raghunath struck a fierce drag flick in the left corner, giving a diving Stockmann no chance.

Wizards had a great opportunity to as they earned back to back penalty corners in the first 10 minutes of the final quarter. Hammond did great defensive work on the first, while Stockmann did well to deny Wizards off the second. Wizards came at the Warriors once again to earn another penalty corner couple of minutes later. And this time Raghunath fired an absolute bullet to the top left corner, giving Stockmann no chance to even move.

And Raghunath completed his hat-trick just a minute later with another bullet of a drag flick to complete a fabulous comeback for Wizards, with the scoreboard reading 3-3.

There were no clear opportunities in extra time for either side, except for Simon Orchard's on target hit being saved by Bazeley. It all changed in the last minute, when Wizards earned a penalty corner, and Raghunath fired another powerful hit to score his fourth goal of the evening, and complete a fairy-tale story for Wizards.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Pietersen may play against Hyderabad

Pietersen may play against Hyderabad

As much as Pietersen's availability is a boost, the loss of a potent death bowler might sting Delhi badly. More »

Bangalore lose nerve, lose game

Bangalore lose nerve, lose game

IPL 7, GAME 11—Vinay's over, Lynn's catch turns last-over finish in KKR's favour. More »

Struggling Mumbai need batting fuel

Struggling Mumbai need batting fuel

Mumbai have explosive hitters down the order in the form of Corey Anderson and Kieron Pollard, but the lack of contributions from them has compounded their… More »

Boycotting IPL will not save cricket

Boycotting IPL will not save cricket

Boycotting the IPL as a means of protest against the grime in the game may not yield the desired results. More »

Srinivasan's ICC presence to be challenged

Srinivasan's ICC presence to be challenged

Srinivasan, who has been replaced by the court as board president, was named the BCCI's representative to the ICC last September. However, that position… More »

Atapattu likely to be SL interim coach

Atapattu likely to be SL interim coach

Sri Lanka's chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya issued the strongest indication yet that Marvan Atapattu would be appointed coach for the tour of Ireland… More »

Couldn't turn down ECB offer: Farbrace

Couldn't turn down ECB offer: Farbrace

England's new assistant coach Paul Farbrace admitted that it was impossible turn down the job even though he will have mixed feelings when he faces… More »

Cleaning up the game starts with fans

Cleaning up the game starts with fans

... because, as recent events reveal, the BCCI has little intention of doing it. More »

'BCCI should have picked panel with care'

'BCCI should have picked panel with care'

Dalmiya said that it was the first time that the BCCI had been faced with a situation where the apex court had hauled up the Board and it should have acted… More »

Jadeja spins out Rajasthan in close chase

Jadeja spins out Rajasthan in close chase

IPL 7, GAME 10—Chennai beat Rajasthan by 7 runs after last-over scare. More »

Is Srini group delaying BCCI meeting?

Is Srini group delaying BCCI meeting?

The group opposed to Srinivasan alleged that since BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel belongs to the president’s group, he was intentionally delaying the SGM… More »

Vithanage, Priyanjan get T20 call-ups

Vithanage, Priyanjan get T20 call-ups

Herath has been rested, while the team will be without the veteran pair of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, who retired from T20 internationals… More »

'Gambhir will strike form soon'

'Gambhir will strike form soon'

Gautam made an eight-ball duck in the opening game against Mumbai and in the second game against Delhi, he lasted only half those balls. More »

SL in 'difficult place' after Farbrace exit

SL in 'difficult place' after Farbrace exit

Sri Lanka depart for assignments in Ireland and England in two weeks, and Sanath Jayasuriya suggested Marvan Atapattu would be interim head coach for those… More »

Chandimal axed as T20 captain

Chandimal axed as T20 captain

Sri Lanka's cricket selectors on Wednesday sacked Dinesh Chandimal as Twenty20 captain and replaced him with Lasith Malinga, while Angelo Mathews was… More »

Farbrace is England's assistant coach

Farbrace is England's assistant coach

The ECB continued the restructuring of the England coaching set-up on Wednesday by announcing the appointment of Paul Farbrace as assistant coach. More »

SC asks Mudgal committee to continue

SC asks Mudgal committee to continue

Mukul Mudgal has communicated to the court his willingness to take up the investigation and has been asked to specify the terms and modalities on April… More »

Sri Lanka players resolve pay dispute

Sri Lanka players resolve pay dispute

The pay dispute between Sri Lanka Cricket and its 13 contracted players ended on Wednesday when the latter agreed to accept 10 percent of the participation… More »

Hope to be fit for next game - Pietersen

Hope to be fit for next game - Pietersen

With two heavy defeats at the hands of Bangalore and Chennai, Daredevils currently languish near the bottom of the table. More »

'SC decision could hurt BCCI's status'

'SC decision could hurt BCCI's status'

The Supreme Court prefers that the Justice Mudgal panel further investigate the IPL corruption scandal. More »

Mudgal panel drops bombshell in court

Mudgal panel drops bombshell in court

The Mukul Mudgal probe committee dropped a bombshell in the Supreme Court on Tuesday by making a sensational claim that it was forced to stop audio recording… More »

Perfect Punjab trounce Hyderabad

Perfect Punjab trounce Hyderabad

IPL7, GAME 9—Maxwell (95, 43b), Balaji (4-13) set up 72-run win. More »

Have the ECB played an unfair game?

Have the ECB played an unfair game?

Money talks, but it is in light of this ICC shakeup that the ECB's act of soliciting of another team's coach deteriorates from free-market aggression to… More »

Farbrace quits for England post

Farbrace quits for England post

He will assist Peter Moores who was unveiled as the new England coach on Saturday. More »