Hockey India League: Ranchi Rays to face Punjab Warriors in a rematch of last edition's final
The defending champions, Ranchi Rays, lost to Uttar Pradesh wizards in opening encounter of the league
Jaypee Punjab Warriors face defending champions Ranchi Rays in a rematch of last year's final of the Coal India Hockey India League (HIL) at the International Hockey Stadium in Chandigarh on January 19.
Warriors, who have been runners-up in the past two editions -- denied by penalty shootouts on both occasions - will look to set the record straight from the first match.
Warriors head coach Barry Dancer from Queensland, Australia - who is the only coach to have served in all four seasons of the HIL and responsible for guiding Australia to their Olympic gold medal finish at the 2004 Athens Olympics -- is looking forward to working together with India captain Sardar Singh, who moved from Delhi Waveriders.
Warriors' squad is a perfect mix of the most talented 12 Indian and seven Australian players with Mark Gleghorne being the sole Englishman in the squad. It will see Jugraj Singh and Tristan Chemons guard the goal posts while Varun Kumar, Harbir Sandhu, Chris Ciriello and Mark Knowles will form the defence for the team.
Captain Sardar Singh, M.B. Aiyappa , Simon Orchard, Matt Gohdes and Mark Gleghorne will form the midfield, while the forward line will see Satbir Singh, SV Sunil, Jasjit Kular, Gurwinder Chandi, Armaan Qureshi, Nithin Thimmaiah and Jacob Whetton.
On the other hand, Ranchi will once again depend on Ashley Jackson, forward Barry Middleton, Fergus Kavanagh, Sandeep Singh, Manpreet Singh, Birendra Lakra and Kothajit Singh, Tyler Lovell and Trent Mitton.
The team has a combination of Australians, who can play different roles at the same time like midfielder/forward Flynn Ogilvie, 23-year-old Daniel Beale and 25-year-old Mitton who can play a similar role. Timothy Deavin will add the necessary experience in the form of defender/midfielder. The goal will be guarded by Australian Tyler Lovell, who helped Rays win the title last year.