Usha's Pakistani forward Tarik Aziz (R) loses the ball to a Sonali Bank player during their Premier Hockey Super League match at the Maulana Bhasani National Hockey Stadium yesterday.Photo: STAR
Krishna Kumar's hattrick went down the drains as Sonali Bank lost 6-3 to Usha Krira Chakra, who came on the verge of sealing their third consecutive Premiership hockey title yesterday.
Leaders Usha survived a scare on way to their 11th win in as many matches as Pakistani duo Akhter Ali and Tarik Aziz each scored a brace to shrug off the bankers' tremendous fightback with three second half goals after yesterday's Green Delta Premier Hockey League Super 5 match was locked 3-3 at the break.
From their remaining two matches Usha -- who are on 33 points -- need just one victory to win the championship.
Even a draw against their fellow defending joint-champions Abahani in the league finale would suffice or if Abahani drop points in any of their three games, Usha will have their hands on the crown.
Usha looked like runway victors after scoring three goals inside 18 minutes at the Maulana Bhasani National Hockey Stadium. Akhter opened the scoring from a penalty corner in the sixth minute and the Pakistani centre-half doubled the lead ten minutes later from a penalty stroke.
Maksud Alam Habul made it 3-0 a couple of minutes later but Krishna turned the table in a ten-minute burst with three field goals.
Krishna's treble came in the 24, 27 and 34 minutes as Bank, runners-up of this year's Club Cup tournament, threatened to stage an upset.
Following 17 minutes of tight battle after resumption, Aziz shot Usha ahead from a penalty corner but Bank, who suffered a 5-3 loss to Abahani two days earlier, wasted great chances to take the match beyond their opposition.
They pressed hard but squandered four penalty corners inside five minutes, allowing Usha to get a grip and win the match with goals from Imran Ahmed Sohel and Aziz in the 60 and 62 minutes.
After two consecutive Super League defeats, Sonali remained on 19 points from 11 outings.
Abahani will take on Ajax in today's lone match.