Table-toppers Dabang Mumbai are all set to clash against the Waveriders from Delhi in Match No.9 of the Coal Hockey India League 2017 at the Mahindra Stadium in Mumbai on Monday evening. The Alphas are leading on the points tally with 12 from their first three matches while the visitors, with a draw and a loss under their belt, occupy the fifth position with a mere 3 points.
A team which has never made it to the semi-finals of the league in the last four editions looks in the best shape to tread that distance this time around in the 2017 edition. They are coming into this fixture on the back of two important wins, particularly a big one in the last outing when they thrashed the defending champions Jaypee Punjab Warriors 10-4, which will be a huge confidence boost for the squad.
The key player in their ranks will be captain Florian Fuchs who will lead the attack for the Alphas alongside Affan Yousuf, Robbert Kemperman and Nikkin Thimmaiah. The defence manned by David Harte in front of the goal has seen a few rare lapses but with the likes of Harmanpreet Singh and Sander de Wijn and Emmanuel Stockbroekx featuring in the back-line and Manpreet and Nilakanta Sharma in the mid-field, it will be hard for the visitors to make it inroads with circle penetrations.
The finalists from last season will be looking for their first win of the season in today’s clash, having played out a goalless draw against the Ranchi Rays in their last match while suffering a 1-0 defeat against the Kalinga Lancers in their opening game of the season.
Captain Rupinder Singh has looked a bit off-colour in the capacity of a drag-flicker and is yet to come into his own. Guardian Vincent Vanasch has been all but impressive in front of the goal having conceded the lone goal against the Lancers’ and will be looking to stand firm against the Mumbai outfit as well.
The attack will be spearheaded by the young duo of Mandeep Singh and Parvinder Singh alongside Simon Child of New Zealand while Junior World Cup winning captain Harjeet Singh will be the key player to watch out for in the mid-field.
Dabang Mumbai’s ability to attack and earn penalty corners has been a constant feature in this edition of the HIL, moreover, their perseverance and ability to stage a comeback even in the dying moments of a match will ensure that the home team goes the distance in this clash.
In addition to this, they will be backed by a boisterous crowd support which will fuel the player’s belief. On the other hand, Delhi have failed to score goals, be it field goals or the ineffective conversion of penalty corners, a factor they will have to concentrate on if they are to notch up a win.
The visitors’ defence will also have to be upto the mark to stop the Mumbai forwards in their tracks and prevent a potential goal fest.
Verdict: Dabang Mumbai 4-2 Delhi Waveriders
Forwards: Robbert Kemperman (Netherlands), Johan Bjorkman (Sweden), Florian Fuchs (Germany), Gurjant Singh, Roshan Minz, Affan Yousuf, Niikin Thimmaiah, Danish Mujtaba, Kieran Govers (Australia)
Midfielders: Manpreet, Tyron Pereira, Vikas Sharma, Nilakanta Sharma
Defenders: Emmanuel Stockbroekx (Belgium), Sander de Wijn (Netherlands), Jeremy Hayward (Australia), Harmanpreet Singh, Gurmail Singh,
Krishan B Pathak, David Harte (Ireland)
Forwards: Iain Levers (England), Mandeep Antil, Talwinder Singh, Parvinder Singh, Prabhdeep Singh, Mandeep Singh, Pradhan Sommanna, Simon Child (New Zealand)
Midfielders: Benjamin Stanzl (Austria), Santa Singh, Surender Singh, Harjeet Singh
Defenders: Manuel Brunet (Argentina), Tristan White (Australia), Vickram Kanth, Rupinder Pal Singh, Justin Reid-Ross (South Africa), Austin Smith (South Africa)
Goalkeepers: Vincent Vanasch (Belgium), Harjot Singh