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Unbeaten Waveriders look to set off with win

Record chasing Delhi Waveriders would come across an inspired Uttar Pradesh Wizards in their final league match of the Hockey India League here Thursday.

The result of contest will decide the semi-final line-up of the tournament.

The Waveriders have a golden opportunity to become the first team to reach the last-four stage without losing a match and given the form they are in, the record looks a definite possibility in front of their home crowd at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.

However, the Wizards will definitely go all out to end the Waveriders’ unbeaten run and avoid the leaders in the semi-final.

The Wizards, who are one of the only two teams to have held the Waveriders to a draw in their 11 matches so far, are currently fourth in the standings with 27 points and a victory Thursday could catapult them to the third spot above the Jaypee Punjab Warriors, who completed their league commitments on 29 points. Semifinals start on February 9.


MUMBAI TO PLAY FOR PRIDE AGAINST RANCHI

Bottom placed Dabur Mumbai Magicians would have nothing but pride to defend when they take on second placed Ranchi Rhinos in their last league encounter of the Hero Hockey India League at the Mumbai Hockey Association Stadium here on Thursday. The Magicians went into their last two league encounters in a must-win situation to keep alive their semi-finals hopes. But a 1-0 loss against fellow strugglers Uttar Pradesh Wizards on Tuesday was enough to condemn them to the fifth and final spot and thereby throw them out of semi-final reckoning. The hosts, who have gathered 15 points from 11 outings, have managed to win only one match in the entire tournament so far and the team’s defensive frailties have meant that the Magicians could never launch a serious challenge in the competition. And at least getting the consolation of ending their campaign on a winning note is also not going to be easy for the hosts against the Rhinos, who are likely to rest their star players ahead of the semi-finals. The Rhinos have already secured a second place in the league standings.
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