Rhinos look to stop Waveriders` march
Ranchi: Ranchi Rhinos would be banking on the vociferous supporters for inspiration as they aim to halt the march of league leaders Delhi Waveriders in their second home game of the Hero Hockey India League here tomorrow.
There was not a single seat vacant at the Astroturf Hockey stadium when the Rhinos played their first home game against Mumbai Magicians and the team rode the wave of support to overpower their opposition.
However, the Rhinos would need to do a lot more tomorrow given the form the Waveriders are in. The Delhi outfit were impressive against Mumbai Magicians in their away game to win 6-4 yesterday and would be riding a wave of confidence when they visit the Jharkhand capital looking to extend their lead at the top.
The Sardar Singh-led side dropped points only when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Uttar Pradesh Wizards in their first away game but yesterday they were quick to allay any concerns about their away form.
The only concern for the visitors would be their lack of penalty corner conversion and they are surely missing the Dutch star Taeke Taekema, who was ruled out of the competition due to a back injury a few days before the start of the tournament.
India international Rupinder Pal Singh had to fill in for the Dutch legend but has managed to score just one goal from 10 attempts.
Almost all of Waveriders strikers have been in good form and are sure to test Rhinos` custodian Francisco Juncosa Cortes and their defence throughout the four quarters.
Waveriders coach A K Bansal said that his side would look to continue the winning momentum.
"We would like to maintain the momentum. Ranchi Rhinos team is one of the toughest teams in this league with young players who have had vast hockey experience, so taking them lightly is not an option. We would consider this team as one of our biggest opponents and we will us our player`s vast experience against them," he said.
While the Waveriders would look to continue from where they left in Mumbai, the Rhinos would have to regroup quickly after their loss to the Uttar Pradesh Wizards, their first in the competition.
The team had looked out of sorts after their midfield formation was breached and Coach Gregg Clark and his assistant Baljit Singh Saini would have to tie up the loose ends if the home side have to emerge victorious.
The Rhinos are a young team with the likes of Manpreet Singh and Birendra Lakra who have been part of many prestigious tournaments while the Delhi team has a more experienced lot of players.
Coach Gregg Clark said, "The game is obviously going to be a tough one; Delhi Waveriders are a strong team and are currently topping the table. We are looking to repeat our performance from our first game here, since this is our home ground. The rest day has helped us and we hope to play with a much higher tempo tomorrow than what we displayed against Uttar Pradesh Wizards."
Match starts: 8 pm.