Hockey

Dabang, Wizards look to make maiden finals

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When Dabang Mumbai takes the field against Delhi Waveriders in the Hockey India League here on Saturday evening, it will hope to carry its form from the league stage.

Delhi will bank on all its experience of the big stage even though it has struggled this season, knowing well that the league results do not matter now.

Cedric D’Souza’s boys will hope to find their rhythm against the one team that has destroyed every opposition over the last month. For that, they have to make sure the defence remains compact, and Mandeep Singh, often left alone in the attack, has enough support.

A return to form for captain Rupinderpal Singh in penalty corners will be a bonus.

“We can’t afford to make the kind of mistakes we did in the league stage. We need to make sure we don’t miss out on the chances we create,” Rupinderpal said.

Mumbai has never reached this stage earlier, but became the first team to book a semifinal spot this time.

In the other semifinal, Uttar Pradesh Wizards takes on Kalinga Lancers in a battle between two of the best defensive sides.

Wizards will look to its drag-flick battery of V.R. Raghunath and Gonzalo Peillat to score, and the attack of Akashdeep Singh, Ramandeep Singh and Ajay Yadav has been impressive in recent games.

But the team’s biggest strength is its goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh, who has single-handedly kept them in the competition.

Last year’s runner-up Kalinga too is raring to go a step further. Built around Moritz Fuerste, Glenn Turner and Billy Bakker, Kalinga has conceded the maximum goals but also scored the second-highest.

The schedule: Semifinals: Kalinga Lancers vs Uttar Pradesh Wizards (4.30 p.m.), Dabang Mumbai vs Delhi Waveriders (7 p.m.).

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2020 1:52:48 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/hockey/dabang-wizards-look-to-make-maiden-finals/article17362897.ece

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