Ranchi: Ranchi Rhinos came from a goal down to beat Delhi Waveriders 2-1 and win the inaugural Hockey India League in a thrilling summit clash in front of a capacity home crowd at the Astroturf Hockey Stadium on Monday.
     
The Rhinos were trailing for most part of the match after Simon Child gave Delhi the lead in the 25th minute.
     
But the Ranchi outfit never gave up and displayed tremendous fighting spirit to score through Austin Smith (55th) before Manpreet Singh (63rd) scored a late winner for the home team.
     
Earlier in the day, Uttar Pradesh Wizards rode on captain V R Raghunath's four goals, including a hat-trick, to finish third, defeating Jaypee Punjab Warriors 4-3 in the bronze medal play-off match.
     
As expected, the title clash, a match between the two best outfits of the tournament, displayed scintillating hockey by both Delhi and Ranchi, which was fast and free-flowing.
     
The Rhinos seemed to enjoy playing in front of a vociferous home crowd as they overshadowed the Waveriders, at least, in the first quarter.
     
The match started on an aggressive note with both the teams adopting an attacking approach but it was the Rhinos who dominated the early exchanges with more penetrations inside the rival circle.
     
The Waveriders, however, picked up their game in the second quarter and scored against the run of play in the 25th minute through Simon Child to silence the capacity crowd.
     
An opportunistic Child slammed the ball into the right corner of the Ranchi post after picking up a loose ball inside the 'D'.
     
The Rhinos got an opportunity to draw parity in the 32nd minute when they earned their first penalty corner, but skipper Moritz Fuerste's low flick was saved by an alert Nicolas Jacobi at the Delhi goal.

(Agencies)

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