UP Wizards host Delhi Waveriders in a battle of equals

Lucknow: Leaders Delhi Waveriders will look to consolidate their numero uno position in the points table when they face an evenly-matched Uttar Pradesh Wizards in an away league match of the second Hero Hockey India League at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium, on Saturday.

The Waveriders are presently atop the standings with 24 points from seven games, while the Wizards find themselves in the third spot with 15 points from five matches.

For both the teams a win tomorrow has great significance.

While a victory will strengthen Waveriders position in the standings, for Wizards a victory tomorrow means they jump to the second spot ahead of Jaypee Punjab Warriors (18 points).

Going by the paper and their head-to-head record in the previous encounter this year, there is hardly anything to differentiate between the Waveriders and Wizards.

In the previous meeting at New Delhi, the Waveriders and Wizards settled for a 1-1 draw, a fair result going by the strenghts and weaknesses of both the teams.

But come tomorrow, both the sides will itching to get one better of the other.

And with debutants Kalinga Lancers and Dabur Mumbai Magicians getting better with every game, it would be risky for both Waveriders and Wizards to their semifinal berths for granted in the six-team event.

Waveriders coach Cedric D`souza too agreed that it will an exciting encounter as both the teams are equal on paper.

"We don`t see it as an easy game against the Uttar Pradesh Wizards. The match with them is evenly balanced and it will be a tough match to play. The team who plays good and doesn`t allow the pressure to take over will emerge as the winner," he said.

The Delhi outfit skipper Sardar Singh added: "Our last game against the Uttar Pradesh Wizards was a draw. We need to improve our game against them, with special focus on mid field. We need to use our combination well and also put emphasis on man-to-man marking."

UP Wizards coach Roelant Oltmans too expects a tough fighting game against Waveriders tomorrow, just like their previous outing.
"We had a very close game with Delhi Waveriders in Delhi. We expect to have a same type of game. We need to play a well-balanced game. We are playing with them on our home ground and we hope to play some entertaining game," he said.

Wizards captain V R Raghunath said the hosts need to utilise their chances on Saturday.