Pune keep semifinal hopes alive, beat Bhopal 5-4 in WSH

Bhopal: Simrandeep Randhawa came up with a brilliant hat-trick to help Pune Strykers snatch a thrilling 5-4 victory over Bhopal Badshahs in their last league game of the World Series Hockey here on Thursday.

Simrandeep (52nd minute, 55th, 60th), while Nikkin Thimmaiah (10th) and Birendra Lakra (68th) scored two field goals to help Pune make a brilliant comeback and keep their semifinal hopes alive.

Pune will now keep an eye on the match between Mumbai Marines and Chennai Cheetahs on Friday.

For Bhopal, Waseem Ahmad (4th minute, 50th), Karan Bhaskaran (7th) and Affan Yousuf (21st) sounded the board.

Playing at home, Bhopal were leading 2-0 in the first quarter but Nikkin reduced the gap to 2-1 in the 10th minute.

Four minutes in the second quarter, Yousuf made it 3-1. But Simrandeep led Pune`s comeback, converting three penalty corners in the span of eight minutes to bring them back into the game.

Sameer Dad earned a penalty corner just seven minutes off the hooter, which culminated into three more but the Bhopal team could not make any of them count.

However, Lakra made good use of a lapse of concentration from the defenders inside the D to slot one home and helped Pune snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.