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Waveriders, Wizards battle for top spot

Both Waveriders and Wizards did not have the best of outings in their last match.

New Delhi | Published: February 5, 2014 3:58:54 am

It may be early days yet in the Hero Hockey India League but a win for either side in Wednesday’s Hockey India League clash between Delhi Waveriders and UP Wizards would put the winner on top of the league standings. The Waveriders are currently second on the league charts on 17 points ahead of the Wizards on 13 points from four matches, although they have played a game less.

A win for the Waveriders would take them to 22 points, ahead of Punjab Warriors, while victory for the Wizards will put them in joint first place with Punjab on 18 points.

It will be the first time the two teams play each other this season. Delhi appear to have the advantage, considering they are playing at home, at the Dhyanchand Stadium, a venue where they have lost just once in seven games. Conversely, the UP Wizards, can draw hope from having a slightly better record having won two, lost one and drawn one out of the four matches they played in the tournament so far. Both teams have been tight defensively as well as in the midfield — with Sardar Singh and Teun de Noijer contributing for the two sides.

While neither side have given away many PCs in their last few games, they were seen training against conceding PCs on Tuesday — a wise choice considering the presence of drag flick specialists Rupinderpal Singh and VR Raghunath in either camp. Where UP have had issues is with their strikers conversions. While much of UP’s forward line consists of relatively inexperienced strikers, Delhi have benefited from having Matt Gohdes, Jason Wilson and Simon Child upfront.

Both Waveriders and Wizards did not have the best of outings in their last match. While the Delhi outfit were made to work hard to secure a 4-3 win over debutants Kalinga Lancers, UP Wizards were held to a 2-2 draw by Jaypee Punjab Warriors.

The Waveriders have so far won three and lost two out of their five games. Wizards coach Roelant Oltmans however was satisfied with his side’s performance in their last game and said he would be looking to match or improve on that level of play against Delhi.

The game will also feature an interesting side note with the Indian team’s two stalwart defenders, VR Raghunath and Rupinderpal Singh, featuring on opposite sides. Both have have had a good tournament. Raghunath has scored six goals, including a hattrick, from four games for Wizards, while the Delhi’s drag flick expert is second on the goalscorers list with five goals from as many games.

Mumbai hold Ranchi

Ranchi: Defending champions Ranchi Rhinos and Mumbai Magicians played out a 1-1 draw at the Birsa Munda Astroturf Stadium in the Hockey India League, on Tuesday.

Reid Ross Justin drew the first blood for Rhinos with a blistering strike off a penalty corner in the 57th minute, while the Mumbai team restored parity five minutes later through Trent Mitton.

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