HIL match preview: Dabang Mumbai vs Jaypee Punjab Warriors
The newly restructured team Dabang Mumbai will kick off their debut campaign of HHIL against Jaypee Punjab warriors in the Mahindra Hockey stadium, Mumbai. The third match of Hockey India League’s new season seems to be an exciting prospect as it would be the first encounter between both the teams.
Last year’s runners-up, Jaypee Punjab Warriors produced a scintilatting performance en route to the finals. They would be planning to go one better this time and win the title.
Dabang Mumbai on the other hand would like to begin their season on a encouraging note by winning the first match. With a new management and set of players, the yet-untested team can definitely be considered as the dark horse of the tournament.
Jaypee Punjab Warriors start as favorites
Having an experienced team, Punjab are in a buoyant mood to recreate their 2014’s superb form that jettisoned them into the finals. However, they would also be wary of their usual defensive lapses which costs them the title last year.
Team captain Jamie Dwyer is back from a lengthy injury lay-off and would lead the attack of the team. The biggest advantage for Punjab is the presence of a strong Aussie squad which provides huge solidity & understanding to the team. Kieran Govers, Christopher Ciriello, Mark Knowles and so on are few names who are world class in their department.
Punjab’s main trump card would be their star man Sandeep Singh. If he reproduces his goal scoring mojo then no one can stop these “Punjabi Warriors”.
Dabang Mumbai to begin afresh
Under a new owner and mentorship of ex-India Captain Viren Rasquinha, Dabang Mumbai would be raring to go onto the field and prove a point or two. Although the team does not boast big names in their squad but the side looks spirited enough to pose a challenge to their opponents.
Tom Boon, the current highest paid player of the league, is expected to shine for the team and repay the management’s faith in him.
For Mumbai, the margin of error is very less, as all the players have to immediately create an understanding between them and work as a cohesive unit. If they are able to gel together as a team, then there chances of reaching the latter stages seems odds-on.
Punjab having an experienced squad looks the better side. If the Mumbai outfit plays with spunk and vigour they definitely can outdo their rivals.