A spirited Ranchi Rays overcame a two-goal deficit to hold defending champions Delhi Waveriders to a 2-2 draw in a league match of the third Hero Hockey India League (HIL) on Monday.
The draw took Rays to seven points from three games. After going down 3-6 to Kalinga Lancers in the tournament opener, the Ashley Jackson-led side defeated Dabang Mumbai 2-1 in their previous match.
The Waveriders, on the other hand, have garnered four points so far, having registered their second consecutive draw in the tournament. The Sardar Singh-led outfit was held on to an identical 2-2 draw by Uttar Pradesh Wizards in their opening match of the season.
Akashdeep Singh’s strike in the fourth minute gave Waveriders an early lead before Danish Mujtaba doubled the scoreline in the 27th minute from a penalty corner.
The Waveriders kept up the pressure on the Ranchi defence and earned three penalty corners in quick succession late in the second quarter, the third of which was scored by Mujtaba with a rebound after the home team goalkeeper Lovell Tyler made a great save.
But a minute later, Nick Budgeon (28th) scored with a fierce dragflick from a penalty corner to pull one back for the Rays just at the stroke of halftime.
The Rays came out with more purpose after the change of ends and drew parity five minutes into the third quarter through Mandeep Singh (35th), who guided the ball into the net with a vital deflection from a flick.
The Rays nearly scored another just at the start of the fourth quarter through Jackson, whose dragflick struck the post.
Both the teams pressed hard in search of the winner thereafter but failed to breach each other’s backline.
After a rest day on Tuesday, the Rays will next host Dabang Mumbai at the same venue on Wednesday, while the Waveriders will look for their first win when they take on Jaypee Punjab Warriors at their home turf in New Delhi on Friday.