It was a match that lived to its billing – after all it featured the country’s two most formidable domestic teams – Indian Railways and Indian Oil, and it needed a shootout to separate the two. It was Indian Railways who had the last laugh in the shootout and they owe the win to their goalkeeper Amritpal Singh, who pulled off three crucial saves to romp into the final of the Obaidullah Khan Heritage Cup at the Major Dhyan Chand Hockey Stadium in Bhopal.
The Railwaymen earlier was pushed on the backfoot by Indian Oil, who took the lead in the second quarter via former international Talwinder Singh. Joginder Singh converted a short corner to ensure both teams were on an even kneel at half-time. After a goalless third quarter, the final quarter came to life when Rimanshu made the most of a penalty corner to put Indian Railways ahead for the first time, but Indian Oil struck almost immediately converting a penalty stroke via two-time Olympian Vokkaliga Raghunath.
Indian Railways will face Army XI in the final on Sunday – in an all Army-affair, Army XI rallied to sneak past Army Green 3-1. Army XI was back against their walls after Manish Rajbhar gave Army Green the lead. The resurgance of Army XI was engineered by Harman Singh, who profited from a penalty corner as both teams went into half-time break with a 1-1 scoreline.
Biraj Ekka struck twice in two minutes in the second half for Army XI to take the game away from Army Green. Army Green never recovered from two-minute goal blitz and had to settle for the second-best position in the match and will now play Indian Oil in the 3-4th place play-off tie.