Except for the league's opening night and Republic Day, the spectator turnout at the National Stadium here hasn't really been anything to write home about.
It's a pity, really — a packed National Stadium would've lent itself well to the Mexican wave, a perfect fit given the hosts' name and form; more so on Wednesday, with the Ranchi Rhinos — them of the now-famous one-horned celebratory signal — adding another Hispanic dash to the mix, with both their furious red outfit and style of play reminding one of the Spaniards.
They were always expected to take the challenge to the Waveriders; in the end, it took the quick reflexes of giant German goalie Nicolas Jacobi to save the hosts from succumbing to their first loss of the inaugural Hockey India League.Ranchi took the lead towards the end of the first quarter — Ashley Jackson finding Justin Reid-Ross in the area, who slotted home — but Delhi drew level almost as soon as the next period started through Gurbaj Singh.
After half-time, the Rhinos switched gears. Nick Wilson was the provider for fellow forward Mandeep Singh, and was then at the receiving end of a clever reverse-flick by Ashley Jackson. On both occasions, the only thing between the Rhinos striker and the goal was Jacobi, but that was enough.
Then, against the run of play, Delhi's other German star, forward Oskar Deecke, shot from outside the circle. Yuvraj Walmiki got the final touch to give Delhi the lead. With less than 10 minutes to go, Floris Evers coolly struck home to secure a draw.