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Match Preview: Uttar Pradesh Wizards vs Ranchi Rhinos

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Preview
832   //    25 Jan 2013, 15:37 IST

Venue: Dhyan Chand Astroturf Stadium, Lucknow (Capacity–10,000)

Date: 26th January

Time: 03:00 PM

Broadcaster: ESPN and Star Cricket

As the nation celebrates Republic Day, I assume you will  experience pleasure watching the national game at its best in the Hockey India league match 3 past noon. A stable Ranchi Rhinos, and a steady UP Wizardz take on each other. What adds spice to the dish is: “The team that wins will be more likely to become table topper”

Sahara Uttar Pradesh Wizards will be looking for revenge for their loss to Ranchi Rhinos in the last match. It was the first defeat for Uttar Pradesh, a hard fought battle that ended 3-1. Ranchi Rhinos was the most under-rated team before the tournament started and they have really pulled up their socks and raised a few eyebrows. After a poor start, they will be looking to continue the momentum they have gained.

Players to watch out for:

VR Raghunath – Uttar Pradesh Wizards

On any day, an experienced campaigner like VR Raghunath will be handy. With his name among the top scorers in the league, he will definitely look to convert the chances he gets. Ranchi Rhinos have to be wary of him. On his day, in combination with the likes of Teun de Nooijer and Tushar Khandekar, he can be unstoppable.

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Mandeep singh – Ranchi Rhinos

Mandeep singh is the X-factor for the Ranchi Rhinos. It looks like Ranchi is more dependent on him for getting some numbers on the score board. He has made use of the valuable passes from Moritz Feurtze and the Dutchman Floris Evers. But Ranchi’s penalty conversion rate has not been impressive.

Team Quotes:

“Ranchi Rhinos are playing two back-to-back games and we will try to take advantage of this. With 14 points on board, we stand second in the points table. We have a great momentum going for us right now. The entire team is performing well and we are looking forward to keep this momentum going and convert it into positive results against Ranchi Rhinos” – VR Raghunath

“Uttar Pradesh Wizards is a challenging team to play against, and we need to be cautious about giving them opportunities for penalty corners since their conversion rate is very high. Having said that, the youngsters in our team have been performing really well and I am sure we will give the away team a hard time on the field” – Baljit Singh Saini, Ranchi Rhinos Co-Coach.

Form Guide:

Uttar Pradesh Wizards: DWDWL

Ranchi Rhinos: LLWWW

Prediction:
Each match is a new one. Without looking at the past performances, one can say these two teams can outplay each other on their day. It will be a close fought battle, likely to be capitalized by Uttar Pradesh.
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