A brilliant brace by young Karan Laxman Baskaran set up a 3-1 victory for Bhopal Badshahs against hosts Karnataka Lions in the latter's first home match at the KSHA turf here on Monday.
Lions, who are yet to open their account in the World Series Hockey, are lying at the bottom of the table while Bhopal Badshahs have six points after posting two wins and a loss.
Karan's performance would have made his father and coach Baskaran proud as he has played a crucial role in all of Bhopal Badshahs' wins. Baskaran, who led India to a gold medal at Olympics 1980, has returned to coaching in the World Series Hockey.
The action-packed third quarter saw Karnataka Lions take a lead in the 41st minute through veteran star Dhanraj Pillay, who showed glimpses of his famed stick-work and aggression. Put in possession by Arjun Halappa, who played his heart out for the Lions, Pillay overcame a defender and tapped in near the left post on his second attempt.
However, that would remain the only successful attempt for Lions who suffered severe setbacks thereafter as Bhopal Badshahs came out aggressively not only to equalize but pump in two more goals in the next five minutes.
A brilliant field goal saw Lalit Kumar Upadhyay receive a long ball from the midfield. He moved into the circle but with two defenders blocking him, he passed the ball back to Waseem Ahmad and the Pakistani star did not waste any time with a quick short pass to his right where a waiting Karan Laxman Baskaran slammed in, in the 43rd minute and the Badshahs celebrated as the ball went through the legs of Lions' custodian Devesh Chouhan, who made three saves in the first half but was let down by his defenders on the day.
Within two minutes, Bhopal also earned a short-corner and Karan Baskaran was once again in his elements scoring with a low strike that went between rival goalie Chouhan and defender Len Aiyappa. The match suddenly came to life and a silly mistake in the defence saw Bhopal Badshahs post another field goal in the 48th minute.
Lions' defender Len Aiyappa fumbled a bit and Lalit Kumar stole the ball just outside the circle and put Sameer Dad in possession. The Bhopal Badshahs' skipper made no mistake to make the score 3-1 in his team's favour.