New Delhi: Having got off to a good start in the Hero Hockey India League, Delhi Waveriders would try to maintain their position at the top of the points table as they take on Mumbai Magicians at home in Wednesday’s second game.
Waveriders began the game against Jaypee Punjab Warriors with a very high tempo, and could have gone ahead in the first minute of the game. Waveriders would be hoping to get another equally good or even better start against the Mumbai Magicians, who have got some very dangerous players in their side.
Germany’s Oskar Deecke and Gurvinder Singh Chandi scored a goal each in the space of eight minutes that gave Waveriders a 2-1 win on Monday. The Waveriders’ think tank would expect a similar performance from Deecke and Chandi.
The Sardar Singh-led unit might have won comfortably on Monday, but there was definitely scope for improvement in their finishing. Had they taken their chances, Waveriders could have won with a much bigger margin on Monday, and that is something they cannot afford to do against good teams. Drag-flicker Rupinder Pal Singh, handling the responsibility in the absence injured Taekema, failed to convert any of the three penalty corners that the Waveriders had against Warriors, and that’s something the Delhi outfit would need to improve upon.
Their opponents Mumbai Magicians would be keen to make a confident start to their Hero Hockey India League campaign, especially in an away game. They have done the hard work, they have prepared hard, and now is the time to show that all the preparations would result in to a good performance. All eyes would be on Magicians’ top star Sandeep Singh. Sandeep is a proven performer at the highest level, and the onus would be on him to deliver the goods. Magicians’ fortunes in Wednesday’s match, as well as in the tournament, would depend a lot on Sandeep Singh’s form.
Having said that, there are a number of other talented players in this Magicians’ side too. Foreigners like Joel Carroll and Matthew Swann would be keen to prove their worth in the tournament as early as possible, and Wednesday would be a good opportunity for them.
Apart from Sandeep Singh, Magicians also have the likes of Sarvanjit Singh, Satbir Singh, P Thirumala Rao, from whom the team management would have a lot of expectations.
PR Sreejesh is known to be rock-solid inside the goal, and it would be a challenge for the Waveriders’ attackers to beat Sreejesh on a regular basis.
Magicians are coached by Australian legend Ric Charlesworth, who has worked in India as a coach before. His tactical strength is definitely a plus-point for the Magicians as they take on Delhi Waveriders, the only team in this competition to have an Indian coach, in AK Bansal.
The Hero Hockey India League is organised by Hockey India with official sanction from the International Hockey Federation (FIH). The inaugural season is being played from January 14 to February 10, 2013 in a home-and-away format. The five franchisee-based teams, consisting of the top hockey players from India and around the world, will compete for the prestigious trophy. Hero Motocorp Ltd. is the Title Sponsor of the league while Airtel is the Associate Sponsor. Star Sports, who is the Broadcast Partner, will be telecasting all matches live.