The 2nd day of 3rd Hero Hockey India League will see double, in first one defending champions Delhi Waveriders take on Uttar Pradesh Wizards in Lucknow and Jaypee Punjab Warriors will challenge Dabang Mumbai in Mumbai.
Dabang Mumbai and Jaypee Punjab Warriors will be seen battling it out in their Hockey India League 2015 opener on 23 January 2015 (tomorrow) at 1900 HRS (IST) at Mahindra Hockey Stadium in Mumbai and will be telecasted LIVE on Star Sports, while Delhi Waveriders will take on Uttar Pradesh Wizards at 1500 HRS (IST). Entry to the stadium for all the Hockey India League matches in Lucknow is free.
Last when both the teams had met was in the semi-final match of the second edition of the Hero Hockey India League wherein UP Wizards lost the match to Delhi Waveriders which stopped them from reaching the Finale. With Uttar Pradesh Wizards looking at pay back where they lost to Delhi Waveriders by 1 goal to 0, Sardar Singh led team would be aware of this and will not allow the opponents of getting the better of them.
Beefed by the addition of Goalkeeper PR Sreejesh Oltmans coached team has in place a strong defence line-up with the likes of Raghunath, Marcel Balkestein, Wouter Jolie and Harbir Singh. Also with the mid-field position getting strengthened by the addition of Bob De Voogd of Netherlands and Shea McAleese of New Zealand the UP Wizards team looks a formidable line-up and which every other team should be weary of. On the other side, Delhi Waveriders will be looking at living upto their Defending Champions tag and with the inclusion of Defender Andrew Hayward of New Zealand it strengthens the already present line-up of Defence with names like Rupinder Pal Singh, Steven Edwards of New Zealand and Andres Mir Bel of Spain.
It will be interesting to see which team has the better of the other in their opening match of 3rd edition of Hockey India League tomorrow. While the Delhi team will be looking at Yuvraj Walmiki to earn them the field goals and who was leading the field goal table in the last edition wherein he struck 5 field goals in the entire edition, the team would also be looking at Rupinder Pal Singh to convert the penalty corners for the team. On the other hand it was Captain Raghunath who converted 8 important penalty corners in the last edition and who would be aiming at continuing his form in the upcoming edition and converting important penalty corner opportunities for his team.
Speaking on the match tomorrow Captain Sardar Singh, Delhi Waveriders said, “In the last two editions of Hockey India League, the team has been performing exceptionally well. In this season too we are looking forward to a good start of the league by winning the first match as it will boost the confidence and morale of the team. So this makes the opening game even more important for us. In this edition, all the teams are equally good and well prepared. Uttar Pradesh Wizards has a really good line-up of players and it is going to be a tough competition for us. We are aiming at successfully incorporating all the strategies and duties assigned by the coach. In addition to it, we will be using the strengths of the players to the maximum and eventually win the first match.“
Speaking on the all important match Captain VR Raghunath, Uttar Pradesh Wizards said, “We want to start the Hockey India League 2015 on a positive note. We are looking forward to a healthy match tomorrow with Delhi Wave Riders. We will be playing on our strong points and we hope to put up a fantastic show tomorrow.“
Speaking on the clash tomorrow, Head Coach Cedric D’Souza, Delhi Waveriders said, “If we look at this season of Hockey India League, all the teams are very balanced and stacked with good players so it’s going to be tough competition but the first match is always the tougher one. It’s like getting your feet on the ground properly. Uttar Pradesh Wizards is a strong team and so are we so all I want to say is that may the best team win. We have learnt from our past mistakes and tried to rectify them. As a team, we will play to the best of our strengths and cover our weaknesses. It all depends on the performance on that given day as the level of competition is very high and we look forward to repeat history this year.“
Jaypee Punjab Warriors vs Dabang Mumbai: Both the sides are ready with their best players and strategies to dish out a commendable performance as they look in no mood to give the initial opening points to the other team in the Hockey India League 2015. While the Jaypee Punjab Warriors have enjoyed a successful spell in the previous editions against the Mumbai Hockey India League team so far, nothing can be predicted about the third season of the Hero Hockey India league 2015. The Barry Dancer-coached team this time embraces the finest of the goalkeepers Jaap Stockman with Captain Jamie Dwyer leading from the front, furnishing full support to the team. Affan Yousuf, in his second outing with Jaypee Punjab Warriors, has a sturdy support of the experienced line up of defender Sandeep Singh, Australian player Mark Knowles, forward SV Sunil and mid-fielder Lucas Rey who will once again be seen stepping-out on to the field, high on confidence, to thump the opponents.
On the other side, with two top bided players- Belgian Forward Tom Boon and Australia’s mid-fielder Mathew Swann, the newly assembled Dabang Mumbai will be looking at playing their best hockey and win in order to be able to have a successful debut in the League. The squad is strengthened by mid-fielder Floris Evers and the very experienced goalkeeper Adrian D’ Souza. In the inaugural session of the Hockey India League, Mumbai’s Glenn Turner, with his stupendous performance managed to have his name in the list of ‘Hero Goal of the Match’. He was also named as the ‘Man of the Match’ in the second edition, hence, surely a player to look out for in the League this year.
Looking forward to giving their finest performance in the League ahead, the teams are buckled up and ready for a tough fight to get the better off each other and end the game by pocketing a win.
Speaking on the team structure and expectations for tomorrow’s match Barry Dancer, Coach of Jaypee Punjab Warriors said, “Our team’s groundwork in Mohali has been sound and we are looking forward to our opening match against Dabang Mumbai. Our objective this year is to go one step further than the preceding year’s performance. With a perfect combination of a fine pitch and favourable weather conditions, we wish to make a good start to the competition with a win in the opponent’s home-turf. We are focusing on our own game and strategies and make sure we come out as a strong team. As there are quite few inclusions in our team the boys look even more confident because of the new recruits.”
Speaking ahead of a high intensity clash against Dabang Mumbai, Jaypee Punjab Warrior’s Captain Jamie Dwyer said, “With just a day left for us to start the league, we are excited for our first encounter against the newly formed Dabang Mumbai. The entire team under Barry has been trained meticulously and is confident of tomorrow’s match. We endeavor to win every game and play some good hockey with extra energy and enthusiasm. Last year about 22 million people viewed the game and I hope it’s much bigger this year promising the crowd yet another exciting clash.”
Speaking on for tomorrow’s match, Head Coach of Dabang Mumbai, Valentin Altenburg said, “Our team is a mix of Indian and foreign recruits. Although our team is newly formed, we admire the fact that we have some of the best players from across the world. With a benefit of having Tom Boon in our squad, who is one of the most prominent striker in the international arena these days and who will be supported by Glenn Turner and Anup Amarpal Valmiki. We have observed the Punjab franchise very intensely and every step we make will be a well thought of not leaving any room for the Warriors to overshadow us in the coming match.