Defending champions Indian Oil enjoyed a smooth passage to the final as hammered last year’s runners-up Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited 7-2 in the first semi-final of the 53rd All India Bombay Gold Cup hockey championship at the MHAL-Mahindra Stadium in Mumbai on Tuesday.

They will face Punjab and Sind Bank in the final.

Up against a depleted BPCL outfit, Indian Oil fully exploited the situation to dominate play and launched a series of attacks on the rival goal and scored at regular intervals. BPCL took the field without a proper bench strength as they started without four key players who had played in the earlier matches. Rabichandran Moiranthem, Dinachandran Moiranthem, Sudeep Chirmako and Shivam Anand, all had to report for the Hockey India organised routine fitness and conditioning camp for junior India players, which commenced in Bangalore from Monday.

Besides, BPCL also missed the services of several senior players, including, S.V. Sunil and Lalit Upadhyay, both recovering from injuries, Harmanpreet Singh who has been advised rest and Birendra Lakra who is in the senior India camp.

They still showed the gumption to fight but could not match their superior opponents and as a results the semi-final contest was reduced to a one-sided affair.

Indian Oil drew first blood when Sunil Yadav scored from an indirect drill from their first penalty corner in the sixth minute and a minute later Armaan Qureshi’s feeble attempt slipped through goalkeeper Vikas Dahiya to double the lead.

BPCL managed to cut the deficit in the second quarter through Darshan Gawkar’s goal in the 28th minute but Indian Oil restored the two goal lead when Mohd Rahil found the net on the stroke of half-time.

After switching ends, Indian Oil continued in the same vein and scored four more goals to run away to victory. Deepak Thakur hit the target twice (39th & 57th minutes) while Talwinder Singh (38th minute) and Nilam Sanjay Xess (54th minute) completed Indian Oil’s tally. Gawkar scored BPCL’s second goal in the 56th minute.

Later, former champions Punjab & Sind Bank snatched a 2-1 win against South Central Railway in the second semi-final. Punjab & Sind Bank, who had last emerged champions in 2004, scored through Ranjot Singh (11th minute) and Navdeep Singh (51st minute). South Central Railway scored through Sandeep Kumar Singh (59thminute).

Results – Semi-finals: Indian Oil 7 (Sunil Yadav 6th, Armaan Qureshi 7th, Mohd Rahil 30th, Talwinder Singh 38th, Deepak Thakur 39th, 57th, Nileem Sanjay Xess 54th) beat Bharat Petroleum 2 (Darshan Gawkar 28th, 56th).

Punjab & Sind Bank 2 (Ranjot Singh 11th, Navdeep Singh 51st) beat South Central Railway 1 (Sandeep Kumar Singh 59th).