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Preview HHIL: Match 21: Punjab Warriors Vs Ranchi (2/10/2015)
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Jaypee Punjab Warriors to face tough challenge against Ranchi Rays in Ranchi

Ranchi, 09 February 2015: As the Hero Hockey India League reaches the midway mark, the picture is almost clear which teams will play in the Semi-Finals of the world’s most prestigious hockey league. Jaypee Punjab Warriors, who have already sealed their place in the Semi-Final, will face Ranchi Rays at Ranchi tomorrow, February 10, 2015, making the first clash between the top two teams of the Points-Table and a possible pre-match of the semi-final. Jaypee Punjab Warriors is leading the table with 28 points where as Ranchi Rays is at second place with 24 points.

undefined Ranchi Rays, who have remained unbeatable at their home ground with two draws and two wins, will face a tough challenge against the star-studded Jaypee Punjab Warriors who have specialised players in every department. Leading from the front is the top goal-scorer Sandeep Singh, who scored a hat-trick against the defending champions Delhi Waveriders in their previous match and very much specialised in penalty corners. The Barry Dancer boys will stick to their strategy of earning maximum penalty corners and leave it to Sandeep Singh to convert them. Ranchi Rays Head Coach Harendra Singh has to think out of the box to restrict Sandeep Singh from scoring goals in the penalty corners, otherwise they may have to see a disappointing score-line in the first half.

The Chandigarh-based team is also known for late strikes and scoring back-to-back goals in the fourth quarter to turn the game to their side. The best example was their tie against Delhi Waveriders in Delhi where Jaypee Punjab Warriors were trailing by 0-1 till the 50th minute of the match and their fans lost all their hopes to see any light. However, Australian star Christopher Ciriello, SV Sunil and Affan Yousuf scored three goals in just six minutes and snatch the win from the jaws of defeat. Ranchi Rays not only have to restrict penalty corners but also have to be watchful on each player for not allowing them to come back in the match.

Ranchi Rays’ only strength will be their strong defence led by Kothajit Singh and Birendra Lakra, who showed their guts against Uttar Pradesh Wizards in the last match where the Ranchi-team maintained a 1-0 clean sheet despite of having only 30% ball possession. Ranchi Rays will also be benefited from their captain Ashley Jackson’s great form, who is the second highest goal-scorer of the Hero HIL 2015 with seven goals. With a strong defense, along with Mandeep Singh, Manpreet Singh and Englishman Barry Middleton in the midfield, Ashley can do his job of scoring goals and extend the unbeaten run of the Ranchi Rays at Ranchi.

With the full strengths, both the teams will try to take their game to the next level before the Semi-Finals and the win in tomorrow’s match will boost players’ moral who want to be in good form through-out the League.

Next Match on 10 February 2015
MATCH : Ranchi Rays Vs Jaypee Punjab Warriors
TIME: 1900 Hrs IST
VENUE: Ranchi
TELECAST: LIVE by Star Sports 2 Star Sports 3

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