WSH: Aiyappa hat-tricks as Karnataka win

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Karnataka Lions won
Bhopal, Mar 28: Len Aiyappa came up with a brilliant hat-trick as Karnataka Lions defeated hosts Bhopal Badshahs 5-2 in a high-voltage match of the inaugural World Series Hockey here on Tuesday.

Aiyappa (31st minute, 45th, 50th) took his total tally of goals to 13 to be tied joint second with Gurjinder Singh in the list of top goal scorers, just behind Syed Imran Warsi, who has 13 goals under his belt.

Arjun Halappa (26th) and Naveen Kumar (65th) scored two field goals to help the Lions, not only, to retain their third place at the points table but also reduce the goal difference.

For Bhopal, Waseem Ahmad (43rd) and Karan Bhaskaran (46th) converted two penalty corners, but it was not enough in the end.

Lions flourished in the second quarter and pumped in two goals to go into the break 2-0 at half time.

The Badshahs were all charged up in the third quarter and sounded the board twice but Aiyappa ensured the Lions had their nose ahead with two penalty corner conversions in between.

There was plenty of action in the last quarter, but the Lions were more dominant, and they were successful in thwarting the challenges of the hosts, before Naveen Kumar scored just five minutes from the hooter

Bhopal, at fifth position in the point table, will take on Pune Strykers on Thursday, while the Lions will lock horns with Chandigarh Comets at Chandigarh.

Pune Strykers stun Sher-e-Punjab 3-2

Dragflicker Gurpreet Singh stuck twice as hosts Pune Strykers stunned table-toppers Sher-e-Punjab 3-2 in a pulsating World Series Hockey match in Pune on Tuesday.

Vikas Pillay (12th min) and Gurpreet Singh (29th, 31st) scored for the Strykers while Bikramjit Singh (6th) and Gagan Ajit Singh (63rd) sounded the board for Punjab.

For a team that impressed in the first round but slipped to mediocrity, the 3-2 win against the title favourites will no doubt boost Strykers tremendously.

It was, however, young star Bikramjit Singh who drew first blood for Punjab when he stunned the home crowd by converting the first penalty corner to post the opening goal of the match.

But the Strykers came back strongly with some exhilarating display of grit and skill. Livewire Vikas Pillay, who moments before had missed a sitter set up by Argentine import Mario Almada, was accurate in his penalty stroke to get the equaliser.

The stroke was awarded after PC expert Gurpreet drag flick hit Mathew Hotchkis on the right leg. The hosts could have added another before the end of the first quarter, but the goal was disallowed after a video referral.

Today's Matches (March 28)

7.00 pm Chandigarh Comets vs Mumbai Marines (Chandigarh)

9.00 pm Chennai Cheetahs vs Delhi Wizards (Chennai)

PTI

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