Favourites Delhi aiming to prolong Mumbai`s agony in HIL
New Delhi: Starting as overwhelming favourites, table toppers Delhi Waveriders would like to continue their winning run when they take on laggards Mumbai Magicians in a round-robin match of the Hockey India League here on Saturday.
Led by the inspirational Sardar Singh, the Waveriders are going through a dream run in the inaugural HIL, having won four and settled for a draw out of their five games in the event so far.
The Delhi side is atop the points table with 22 points, five clear of second-placed Ranchi Rhinos.
Playing in front of a home crowd, the Waveriders are expected to enjoy a clear upper-hand over the Magicians on Saturday.
The Waveriders will go into the match full of confidence after coming out on top in their recent 6-4 goal-fest against the Magicians three days back in Mumbai.
The Delhi strikers are in good form and will test Mumbai`s defence and struggling custodian P R Sreejesh, who had conceded a whopping 19 goals in five games.
The only concern for the hosts is the poor penalty corner conversion as drag-flicker Rupinder Pal Singh has been off-colour in the five games so far.
The Magicians, on the other hand, would be desperate to end a dismal run by registering their first win in the tournament.
The Mumbai side lost 3-4 to Jaypee Punjab Warriors last night, their fifth straight defeat in the event.
The Dabur group-owned Mumbai will now have to pull out something special in their remaining seven games to stay in the hunt for a place in the semis.
Coached by the legendary Ric Charlesworth, the side needs inspiration to turn around its fortunes in the tournament`s inaugural edition.
Mumbai has been hit hard by their defensive frailties as other teams have exploited the weakness to the fullest and scored goals at will.
The team was also suffering due to the indifferent form of their captain and ace drag-flicker Sandeep Singh.
Sandeep scored a hat-trick to partially redeem himself after having missed a penalty stroke against Delhi Waveriders in their opening match of the tournament.
But since then he has failed to live upto expectations and his poor defensive tactics are not helping Mumbai.