Punjab host Delhi in HIL
Jalandhar: Jaypee Punjab Warriors would get a last chance to settle scores with Delhi Waveriders in the round-robin stage of the Hero Hockey India league when they host the table-toppers at Surjit Singh Hockey Stadium here on Tuesday.
Both teams have booked their semi-final berths and the result is unlikely to affect the Waveriders, who are safely perched on the top with 44 points.
The Warriors are currently third with 27 points and a win tomorrow would guarantee them a second or third-place finish.
But like all the other teams in the competition, the Warriors have never managed to conquer the domineering Waveriders. However, the hosts would be especially concerned about their inability to even pressurise the opposition enough in their earlier two encounters.
The Warriors, who opened their HIL campaign with a 2-1 loss against the Waveriders, had then brushed aside the defeat as a performance by a yet-to-settle side. But the second loss, 0-3 in Delhi, would have definitely hurt them since the team had no excuse for such a dismal performance.
Even the team management would accept that the margin of loss in both these matches was respectable only because of the performance of their Dutch custodian Jaap Stockmann, who has been brilliant under the bar throughout the tournament.
In both the matches, their experienced goalkeeper saved at least a dozen chances and it would be interesting to see how much support he can get from the defence line led by Australian Mark Knowles.
The final league encounter is also important for the Warriors to ensure they go into the knock-out stage on a high and the form of their skipper Jamie Dwyer would be the key.
Delhi Waveriders coach, A K Bansal said their team will maintain the momentum and play the usual game.
"As we have already reached the semi-finals, we won`t do much in next few matches. We will continue our strategies and play as usual. But we won`t take the opponents lightly and we will play for victory only," Bansal stated.