Millennium Post

Desperate Rhinos clash with UP Wizards at home

The battle for the top spot in HIL is a hot chase at this point and the last match between Ranchi Rhinos and Uttar Pradesh Wizards before the second break in the tournament at the Astroturf Stadium to be played on Thursday could set the tempo for the remainder of this tournament.

The Wizards have upped the ante having won two and drawn two of their four matches and are trailing league leaders Delhi Waveriders by three points. The Rhinos, on the other hand, have lost steam after making a rousing start to their campaign and would love to register a victory over the visitors before flying to Lucknow for a return fixture 48 hours later.

The Wizards had to survive many anxious moments during their 2-2 draw against Punjab Warriors Tuesday and are indebted to Australian custodian George Bazeley who helped them stay in the hunt before skipper V.R. Raghunath salvaged two points with his drag flicks. The India international has recovered well from a slow start and has already scored four goals of the team’s seven goals in the tournament.

The forward line of Teun de Nooijer, Tushar Khandker, S.K. Uthappa and Jeroen Hertzberger have started to gel well and it would be interesting to see if they canconvert the ball possession into goals, something they haven’t managed in the first four games.

While the Wizards must be worried about the lack of goals from their forward line, the Rhinos need to quickly find a solution to their penalty corner conversion woes. Captain Moritz Fuerste and Dutchman Floris Evers have been impressive with their passing but had it not been for some effective poaching from Mandeep Singh, the team would have struggled to push enough forward to pounce on the hopeful crosses inside the circle.
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