Waveriders favourites against Wizards in 1st semifinal of HHIL

Waveriders favourites against Wizards in 1st semifinal of HHIL

Going by form as well as reputation, Delhi Waveriders would start overwhelming favourites against Uttar Pradesh Wizards in the first semifinal of the second Hero Hockey India League (HHIL) here tomorrow.

The Waveriders, who lost to title holders Ranchi Rhinos in the summit clash last year at the Astroturf Hockey Stadium here, ended their league engagements on the second spot with 39 points from 10 games ahead of the Wizards.

The Wizards endured a mixed form this year and finished their league campaign on third position with 28 points from 10 matches.

Having won seven, lost two and drawn one game, the Waveriders, however, had a much better outing in the league stages compared to the Wizards, who tasted just four victories in the tournament this year.

On head-to-head record this year, the Sardar Singh-led side has a better record than the Wizards.

While the match between the two sides ended in a 1-1 draw, the Waveriders recorded a close 4-3 win over the Wizards in their next meeting this year.

But come tomorrow, it will be a completely different ball game as there would be immense pressure on both the teams and a bad day in office would definitely ruin their title hopes.

Under new coach Cedric D'souza, the Delhi outfit has looked a formidable side.

In young Yuvraj Walmiki, Akashdeep Singh, Talwinder Singh, Kiwi Simon Child and veteran Rajpal Singh, the Waveriders possess an energetic forwardline, which can create trouble for any team on its day.

The Waveriders' midfield is led by the ever-reliable Sardar and Gurbaj Singh, while the backline will be manned by one of the world's top goalkeepers in Nicolas Jacobi.

In Rupinderpal Singh, the Waveriders has a classy penalty corner specialist.

On the other hand, despite having some big names in their ranks, Wizards failed to get their campaign going in the tournament.

Ramandeep Singh, the costliest buy in this year's auction, looked ordinary in the tournament so far, but youngsters such as Nikkin Thiimaiah, S K Uthappa and Pradeep Mor has impressed with their skills.

In such a situation, the Roelant Oltmans-coached Wizards would look to draw inspiration from their most experienced player in legendary Dutchman Teun de Nooijer, captain-cum-dragflick specialist V R Raghunath, Australian Luke Doerner and experienced Tushar Khandekar

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