Match Preview: Delhi Waveriders vs Uttar Pradesh Wizards
Venue: Dhyan Chand Stadium, Delhi (Capacity- 10,000)
Date: 7th February
Time: 1800 Hours
Broadcast: ESPN (English Commentary) and Star Cricket (Hindi Commentary)
The High flying Delhi Waveriders take on the UP Wizards in what will be their last home match of the inaugural Hockey Indian League. The Waveriders have proved themselves as the trend-setters this season and are still unbeaten in the league. The Wave Group-owned franchise are assured of finishing at the top of the group irrespective of the result on Thursday. On the other hand, the Wizards are also assured of a semi-final berth although the result could have a bearing on who their prospective semi-final opponent is. The Wizards will be hoping to get a positive result after their abysmal display of late. Delhi goalkeeper Nicholas Jacobi stressed after the match against Punjab that the group was focussed on winning and were not going to take things easily against any team as they were aware of the fact that a loss now could unsettle them ahead of the semi-finals.
Players to watch out for:
Delhi – Rupinder Pal Singh: The centre-back gave a stellar performance against the Punjab Warriors in their previous match. A pleasing feature of Rupinder’s game has been that he has been defensively solid and at the same time very effective with the penalty corners, top scoring for the team with six goals so far. Rupinder, who only recently broke into the Indian team, has been a consistent performer for the Delhi team throughout the league and has featured in all their matches so far. Striker Oscar Deecke was in top form against Punjab as well and he is one player capable of turning the game on its head and the UP defence will have to be careful not to afford him space in the box or in the midfield.
UP – VR Raghunath : The captain and top scorer of the Wizards, Raghunath has been the one constant pillar of consistency in an otherwise poor UP Wizards team. Deemed the favourites from the beginning, the Wizards barely held on to their fourth position and will be banking on an inspired performance by the defender. Star Player Teun De Nooijer has slowly been returning to form but is still far from his best form. Spanish defender David Alegre has also been a bit of a non-performer for the Wizards and it seems assistant coach Dhanraj Pillay has his work cut-out ahead of the semi-finals.
Delhi – WDWWW
UP – LLLWL
Delhi – AK Bansal(India)
UP – R. Oltmans(Netherlands)
Score Prediction: UP have been poor and Delhi fantastic, so it should be an easy win for the Waveriders. I’ll go with a 4-2 scoreline.