Match Preview: Ranchi Rays vs Uttar Pradesh Wizards
Match Preview: Ranchi Rays travel to Uttar Pradesh Wizards in the Hockey India League
After a healthy break of five days, Ranchi Rays will again be in the thick of the action on Tuesday when they square-off against U.P. Wizards in Lucknow. The extra days off must have given the Rays enough time to recharge their batteries and go back to the drawing board. On the other hand, the hockey wizards of U.P. are riding high on confidence after they handed Kalinga Lancers a double whammy with crucial victories over them.
Rays yet to hit top form
Ranchi Rays, as a team, are looking a shadow of their former self. With just one win in four matches, they have not been able to replicate their past performances of previous seasons. Absence of key players like Moritz Fuerste and Cortes has impacted the overall balance of the team.
Nevertheless their Captain, Ashley Jackson, and his international teammate Barry Middleton have carried the team superbly. The English duo has been up to the task when it mattered the most. Middleton, with three goals under his belt, has been the main target man.
The talented duo of Manpreet Singh and Mandeep Singh will have to come up with something special if they want to reach the final stages of the tournament.
Wizards have the momentum
U.P. Wizards will be in a buoyant mood after their back to back double victories over Kalinga Lancers.The huge margin of both those wins will further add to their confidence. Captain VR Raghunath is again looking his menacing best in penalty corners as he already has fired the scoring charts with three goals.
The brightest prospect for the team has been the form of forward Ramandeep Singh. The Indian youngster has been involved in almost every goal. His mazy dribbles are proving a constant headache for the opposition defenders.
S.K. Uthappa and Nikkin Thimmaih are the other youngsters who too are proving handful for the opponents. U.P. Wizards have garnered 13 points from four matches and are sitting comfortably in second position.
Wizards 3-1 Rays