Hockey India League 2017: Dabang Mumbai vs Ranchi Rays Preview - Match Prediction, Time, Venue, Playing Squads & Live Match Telecast info
The fifth edition of the 2017 Hockey India League kicks off today with two-time champions Ranchi Rays (previously known as Ranchi Rhinos) taking on Dabang Mumbai, in what can be billed as a David vs Goliath battle. Dabang Mumbai have never won the competition in their history, while Ranchi Rays have always been a top side.
However, the fifth edition of Hockey India League could be a lot different than any of the previous editions, given the high influx of foreign players, including and especially Europeans and Australians. India have also performed commendably in 2016, winning Asian Champions Trophy and Junior World Cup, which is likely to give players a sense of tremendous confidence.
Ranchi Rays have a top class team brimming with both Indian and foreign stars in every position. Owned by Team Dhoni, Ranchi Rays have in their ranks two top class foreign players, namely Ashley Jackson from England and Christopher Ruhr from Germany.
The presence of Indian national stars Birender Lakra and Kothajit Singh makes their defence pretty solid while the likes of Flynn Ogilvie, Vikramjit Singh, Barry Middleton and Sumit lend a great deal of balance to the midfield. It would be interesting to see whether Rays start Akash Chikte, who had a great 2016, in goal over Australian Tyler Lovell.
If there is one team that needs a serious change of fortune in Hockey India League 2017, it is Dabang Mumbai, considering the fact that they have never won the competition and finished second from bottom last season. Coached by Australian Jay Stacy, Dabang Mumbai have some really good attacking players in their team, including Affan Yousuf, Nikkin Thimmiah and Florian Fuchs.
However, their midfield looks a little weak due to the lack of steel but there will be high hopes from Dutch Olympian Robbert Kempermann. Irish shot-stopper David Harte is likely to start in goal for the home side in today’s contest.
Coached by Harendra Singh, who led India to victory in the 2016 Junior Hockey World Cup, Ranchi Rays are not likely to take any pressure in the game and the onus would be on Mumbai to take the game to the opposition. The likes of Florian Fuchs, Nikkin Thimmiah and Affan Yousuf will press the issue for Dabang Mumbai.
However, they would need to wary of Ranchi Rays’ solid defence and their ability to counter-attack at breakneck speed. Ranchi Rays, on the other hand, would be looking to wait for Dabang Mumbai to make mistakes.
Given the kind of attacking prowess on display, we are likely to see a lot of goals in this game and it could be a contest decided on the basis of which goalkeeper performs better. Ranchi Rays go into this game with the upper hand and the pressure is going to be on the home side to win.
Verdict: Dabang Mumbai 2-4 Ranchi Rays
Forwards: Robbert Kemperman, Johan Bjorkman, Florian Fuchs, Gurjant Singh, Roshan Minz, Affan Yousuf, Niikin Thimmaiah, Danish Mujtaba, Kieran Govers
Midfielders: Manpreet, Tyron Pereira, Vikas Sharma, Nilakanta Sharma
Defenders: Emmanuel Stockbroekx, Sander de Wijn, Jeremy Hayward, Harmanpreet Singh, Gurmail Singh
Goalkeepers: Krishan B Pathak, David Harte (Ireland)
Forwards: Christopher Ruhr, Sarvanjit Singh, Sumit Kumar, Mohammad Amir Khan, Imran Khan
Midfielders: Flynn Ogilvie, Sumit, Simranjeet Singh, Barry Middleton, Trent Mitton, Ashley Jackson, Gurbaj Singh, Manpreet Singh
Defenders: Birendra Lakra, Kothajit Singh, Timothy Deavin, Vikramjit Singh, Fergus Kavanagh
Goalkeepers: Akash Chikte, Tyler Lovell
Dabang Mumbai vs Ranchi Rays Live Match Information
Time: 19:00 IST
Venue: Mahindra Hockey Stadium, Mumbai
Broadcasting: Star Sports 2/HD, Star Sports 3/HD
Live streaming: Hotstar