Pune: Nikkin Thimmaiah fired in two goals in the space of two minutes as Pune Strykers defeated Mumbai Marines 4-2 in the World Series Hockey on Friday.
Young and talented, Thimmiah hogged the limelight with his double strike (43rd and 45th minutes) after the match was tantalisingly poised at 2-2.
Banmali Xess (15th) and Troy Sutherland (27th), working hard upfront, grabbed the half chances that came their way to account for the goals Mumbai scored.
But Gurpeet Singh (28th) and Mario Almada (34th) restored parity in the second quarter, leaving Nikkin to showcase his skills for a fluent win. Both teams, who have lost their previous two encounters, and in dire need of a win, started cautiously. After full-back Ajmir Singh blunted many a Strykers attack, Xess` opportunism titled the scales in favour of the Marines at the end of first quarter.
Standing close to the goalie, he turned a bit before deflecting a freewheeling hit-in that rose high and found the left top corner of the net. Troy Sutherland from top of the circle, sent a reverse hand, Aijub Ekka intercepted its trajectory to deflect it to the right of the goalie for Marines` second goal. Egged on by the sizeable home crowd, Strykers staged a comeback within no time.
Gurpreet struck from the first penalty corner. His drag hit Clyde Abraham`s stick on the right end of the cage, took a ugly inward turn towards the other end of the cage, and landed inside.
Five minutes later, Roshan Minz pouncd on a loose ball and promptly passed it to Mario Almada. The Argentinean couched low to send a diagonal grounder.