Quarter 2 Delhi Waveriders attack through Mandeep Singh but lack of coordination sees the ball go out. Delhi are stringing a few passes together and trying to breach the circle but have not made any substantial effort on goal yet.
Kalinga Lancers, the runners-up of the previous edition of Hockey India League (HIL), will be aiming to do one better as they kickstart their campaign today against winners of the 2014 edition of the tournament, the Delhi Waveriders in Bhubaneswar. The inaugural match of HIL 2017 between Ranchi Rays and Dabang Mumbai saw an amazing ending with the teams scripting a 3-3 draw in a nerve-gripping thriller at the Mahindra Hockey Stadium in Mumbai on Saturday.
Delhi Waveriders look in good shape ahead of the fifth edition of the Hockey India League (HIL), and coach Cedric D’Souza is confident to strike the right balance in the side. Cedric D’Souza who oversaw a seven-day camp prior to the tournament said in an interview, “There have been quite some changes due to the non-availability of players. That’s why we had to go the reserve pool.
"We have taken the best available to make our team as strong as possible. Now is the time to deliver on the pitch,” he said. Drag-flicker Rupinder Pal Singh has been trusted with the captain’s armband. Rupinder along with New Zealand striker Simon Child are the long-serving members of the side.Harjeet Singh along with Mandeep Singh and goalkeeper Vikas Dahiya (who were all part of the junior World Cup winning team) will provide depth to the Waveriders squad.
The squad also comprises South African Austin Smith, Australian Tristan White and Belgian goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch.
Kalinga Lancers which is led by German hockey star Moritz Furste has added more experience to the squad by recruiting Dutch midfielder Billy Bakker and Australian striker Tom Craig.
“Possibly we are a little bit better because we have got current internationals in Bakker and Craig. So that gives us some strike power up front. The Indian players have improved over 12 months. Davinder Walmiki and S.K. Uthappa had a good Olympics and they showed some really good signs. Dipsan Tirkey, at the back, has also some good experience,” said Lancers’ coach Mark Hager.
The match is expected to be really tight and Delhi Waveriders, given the compactness of their defence, are going to rely on counter attacks. Their side has been a little depleted as well and that means the Waveriders will be looking to make the most of the penalty corners, where Rupinder Pal Singh is going to be key.
On the other hand, the Kalinga Lancers, who will be playing at home would be looking to take the game to the opposition through Tom Craig and Moritz Furste.Given the kind of prowess possessed by Delhi on the penalty corner, Lancers’ keeper Vincent Vanasch is going to play a key role in determining the outcome of the match. Should he keep Rupinder Pal Singh at bay, the home side could come out on top.