After upset followed upset in the inaugural World Series Hockey Tournament in India the combatants in tonight final have been decided. It will be Sher E Punjab who will take on Pune Strykers who have defied the odds in their last two games to make it to the final.
After a 6-2 thrashing at home to the Delhi Wizards, Pune defied the odds and beat table toppers Sher e Punjab 3-2 the very next day. That meant that they had to win their last game of the home and away series to make the finals.
This they did away to the Bhopal Badshahs despite conceding twice in the opening ten minutes. They pulled a goal back only to go 3-1 down, and then 4-1 down. The winner was scored with three minutes remaining by Birendra Lakra.
Buoyed by that win they managed to overcome the Chandigargh Comets who were top of the league, in the semi finals. Again they did it the hard way. Again they conceded two goals in the opening 10 minutes, but this time they scored one of their own through Mario Almada.
Again they went 3-1 down and then 4-1 down before goals from Tyron Pereira (46th min) and Bikash Topo in the 59th minute set up a nerve-jangling finish, which saw Simrandeep Randhawa score from a penalty corner in the last minute.
This meant a penalty shoot out. In a penalty shoot-out, the ball is placed on the 23-m line, with an attacker next to it and the goalkeeper on goal on the back line. When the whistle is blown the attacker has 8 seconds in which to try and score a goal.
Chandigargh’s big stars Rehan Butt and Sukhwinder ‘Gabbar’Singh missed their chances as did and Ramandeep Singh, and that meant that Pune had won through to the final 3-2.
Here they will meet Sher E Punjab who overcame Karnataka Lions, who just over a week ago were bottom of the league, 4-1.
All the action from the final is on www.youtube/wsh.