Ranchi Rays’ Mohammad Amir Khan broke the hearts of the opponents and also thousands of home fans as he helped his team defeat Kalinga Lancers 3-2 in the Hockey India League fixture at Kalinga Stadium here on Monday.
With Lancers leading 2-1, Amir showed great urgency in the last quarter and, swiftly positioning himself to execute a reverse hit, caught the rival custodian on the wrong foot.
Lancers looked menacing with Glenn Turner and Aran Zalewski in full flow, and used all the tricks in the book to try and score another goal. But their poor penalty conversions proved costly.
With this win Ranchi leads the pack with 27 points while Lancers are at 23.
A few minutes before half-time, Gurjinder Singh exhibited poor execution hitting his drag flick straight to the goal-keeper.
Though Rays made the early forays, it was the Lancers who drew first blood when Dharamvir Singh scored a field goal by finishing the pass generated by Zalewski.
However, the fleet-footed Ashley Jackson pulled one back by converting a penalty corner to open the account for Rays.
The second quarter witnessed midfielders of the both the teams getting busy and they kept feeding the ball to their forwards. Lancers made several circle penetrations but Turner was not available when some crisp passes were executed.
Rays’ Barry Middleton made a brilliant effort but his run-and-hit went straight to goalie Andrew Charter.
Lancers suffered a setback as M.G. Poonacha was given the marching orders for two minutes reducing the host to ten.
After that Rays marked Zaleswski and Turner astutely, ensuring that there was no threat to their lead.
Lancers will now travel to Chandigarh to play Punjab Warriors on February 15 while Ranchi Rays will clash with Delhi Waveriders at Delhi on February 11.
The result: Ranchi Rays 3 (Mohammed Amir Khan 2-FG, Ashley Jackson) bt Kalinga Lancers 2 (Dharamvir Singh 2-FG).
Keywords: Ranchi Rays, Mohammad Amir, Kalinga Lancers, Hockey India League