It needed the brilliance of former international Talwinder Singh to save Indian Oil’s blushes when he churned out a late equaliser against Indian Navy in their opening match. The nippy striker from Punjab once again came to the party, providing an early lead off an indirecly taken short corner, paving the way for a confident 3-0 win over Punjab Sind & Bank in their second tie of the Obaidullah Khan Heritage Cupat the Major Dhyan Chand Hockey Stadium in Bhopal.
The bankmen were lacklustre for most part of the first half. Indian Oil boasting off three Olympians – Vokkaliga Raghunath, SK Uthappa, and Kothajit Singh – asserted themselves in the midfield. Indian Oil captain and former international striker Affan Yousuf led by example, causing a lot of distress to the Punjab Sind & Bank citadel. The Bhopal lad had a great day in office. The livewire striker created a superb move dodging past the bankmen defenders and whipped in a shot that was tapped home by another former international from Odisha Roshan Minz. He once again showed what a great team-man he is – weaving his around the Punjab Sind & Bank goal and setting up Armaan Qureshi to slot home the third goal.
Indian Oil with one draw and one win from two games, will keenly watch the final Pool D tie between Punjab Sind & Bank and CAG. A draw between Punjab Sind & Bank and CAG will enable the oilmen to make it to the semifinals. CAG will need to win their last Pool match against Punjab Sind & Bank by a handsome margin to halt Indian Oil’s progress in the tournament. Punjab Sind & Bank are out of contention and even if they beat CAG, they won’t make it to the semifinals because they can at best finish with 3 points while Indian Oil have 4 points.
Meanwhile, Army Green reached the semifinals from Pool C after they prevailed over GST Hockey Chennai 4-2 – the result meant that both Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy and GST Hockey Chennai are dumped out of the tournament. Army XI also entered the semifinals by playing out a 2-2 draw against Indian Navy to top Pool B.