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Mumbai search for magic touch

Only side not to have registered a win this season face defending champions Ranchi.

Ranchi | Published: February 4, 2014 4:37:42 am

It is a depressingly familiar situation for the Mumbai Magicians. Around this time in the league last year, they at least had one win against their name in the Hockey India League before the slide, one which they never managed to arrest, began. In an attempt to reverse their fortunes, the owners replaced coach Ric Charlesworth with MK Kaushik and brought 11 new players to the team.

But three matches into the second season of the Hockey India League, the picture looks as grim for the Magicians as before. They have lost all their matches so far, including an embarrassing defeat away to newcomers Kalinga Lancers.

It would take something special, just short of magic, for them to record their first win of this season when they travel to Ranchi to take on defending champions Rhinos tonight.

The bottom-placed team still has three points from as many matches and can jump a place with a win against Ranchi, who have been gaining momentum after their home defeat to Uttar Pradesh Wizards in their opening match.

Mumbai have been rather inconsistent in their performances and the team has lacked cohesion. They have played well in patches but failed to maintain the same level for the entire duration of the match. Their skipper, Australian Glenn Turner, admitted the inconsistency but insisted the team has rectified its mistakes ahead of Tuesday’s match.

“It is frustrating and disappointing for us, losing the previous three games,” Turner said. “To be honest, the first two games were played against good opposition. What we can do is we can give 100 per cent and work as hard as we can to get some a win with whatever strategy.”

One of their biggest concerns will be the fragile defence. Kaushik, who is also the assistant coach of the national team, conceded that the mistakes made inside their own half at crucial junctures had cost them dear.

“We played good hockey in the first two quarters of the first match, but the consistency was missing. We had some problems in defence, so goals were conceded,” Kaushik said. “We would like to play a good game. We had made some mistakes. We have rectified that and are trying to give our best.”

Kaushik said the team is feeling the pressure after losing three matches in a row but sounded confident of achieving a positive result against Rhinos. “Since we have not won even a single match so far in this league, so there is a little pressure on team but we are ready with full confidence,” he said.

Rhinos, on the other hand, will be hoping to record their third straight win. After an early hiccup, the Gregg Clarke-coached side has looked sharp and has grown in confidence with each passing Latch.

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