Mumbai: After ending their victory drought on Sunday, Dabang Mumbai have a formidable task on hand when they take on Uttar Pradesh Wizards in their Hockey India League first leg clash at the Mahindra Stadium Wedensday.
The 2-1 win over cellar outfit Kalinga Lancers two days ago, after three losses and two draws in their previous games, was a big boost for Mumbai in their floundering campaign.
Mumbai, presently fifth in the six-team table, however, need to sustain their winning momentum against third-placed Wizards to keep their semi-final hopes alive as a defeat would dent their chances severely.
For this to happen Mumbai should sharpen their field-goal skills as both the goals against the Lancers came off penalty corner conversions.
For all the potential thrust the home team has with Australian sharp-shooter Glenn Turner spearheading their attack, Mumbai have depended a lot on Harmanpreet's drag-flick abilities from penalty corners to score goals.
The defense held good against Lancers as six penalty corners were foiled by goalkeeper David Harte, who was chosen to stand under the bar after a rusty display put up by former India custodian Adrian D'Souza in their earlier match against defending champions Delhi Wave Riders.
But they have a formidable line-up facing them here with the Wizards sporting a good sprinkling of current India internationals including no. 1 goalkeeper P R Sreejesh, deep defender V R Raghunath and Ramandeep Singh.
The Mumbai defense has to be at its best to stop drag-flick expert Raghunath, who has struck four times from set-pieces so far.
The Wizards, with interim national coach Roelant Oltmans at the helm, have blown hot and cold this season, winning three and losing as many while drawing one game so far to tally 20 points from seven matches.
Two of their wins came against the struggling Lancers while the other was against toppers Jaypee Punjab Warriors in the return leg clash at Lucknow after having lost the away game 1-3.