Popcorn-munching children and fans dancing to the beat of drums summed up the mood of the crowd that had come to watch the Delhi Wizards vs Karnataka Lions match of the World Series Hockey on Friday.
Adding spice to the evening were the cheerleaders. Inspired by a goodly crowd and the razzmatazz, the Wizards outplayed the Lions 3-2 in their opening match at the National Stadium.
Fitter of the two sides, the Wizards, in red shirts and black shorts, took the lead in the first quarter through Vikramjeet Singh. Led by Rajpal Singh, the Wizards picked up pace as the match entered the second quarter. Rajpal, the former India skipper, may be out of favour with Hockey India, but he is still a crowd favourite. Whenever he entered the rival half, the stands came alive.
Another former India captain, Dhanraj Pillay, donning Lions' colours, looked out of sorts. Maybe it had something to do with his being out of touch. He failed to dribble and didn't look hungry enough. A few more hours in the gym will help him in the month-long tournament. Some cheer was in store for the veteran as his name figured briefly in the score-sheet, but the error was rectified soon after.
Results: Delhi Wizards 3 (Vikramjeet 2nd, Abbasi 19th, Rajpal 51st) bt Karnataka Lions 2 (Ravipal 36th, Jarnail 48th)