New Delhi, 20 February 2015: It is a clash which Jaypee Punjab Warriors have been waiting for since the Finale of the second season of Hero Hockey India League. The aim is to undo that result and finish the job with a win. On the other hand Delhi Waveriders will aim at making it to the third successive Hero Hockey India League final.
The second semi-final match tomorrow will witness Jaypee Punjab Warriors taking on Delhi Waveriders where both the teams will want to outwit the other and march to the Finals. While Jaypee Punjab Warriors won both their matches against Delhi Waveriders in the league phase but the former are aware that with Delhi, it will still be an uphill task to dominate and win. Delhi Waveriders on the other hand are coming back to form and which they proved in their last match against Uttar Pradesh Wizards where trailing by 2 goals to 0, they bounced back by scoring three consecutive goals leaving the Wizards stunned, though the match ended in a draw. With a form like this and a capability of bouncing back, makes Delhi Waveriders a strong contender for the Finale. But Jaypee Punjab Warriors too will leave no stone unturned to ensure that the tables are in their favour.
In the entire league phase, Barry Dancer coached Jaypee Punjab Warriors were faced with a situation where the team made a slow start, making the team vulnerable and in the process give in the early goals. But the positive aspect is by the second half the team effortlessly bounced back and difficult to beat once they get going. With Sandeep Singh converting the all important penalty corners and Jamie Dywer with his capability of tearing at the heart of the defence, the team will be targeting to attack from the start of the game and ensure Delhi doesn’t have an edge over them. Also all eyes will be on the speed demon SV Sunil who, once he gets in the run, defenders find it difficult to keep upto him and can single handedly enter the D of the opponents.
On the other hand, Cedric D’souza with a team which is the defending champions have finally found form and are clicking as a unit. While initially what the team found difficult was the circle penetrations but gradually the team has worked on their attack and are now easily penetrating the D and getting the all important penalty corners. Also what is working in the team’s favour is with Gurbaj at the back, is playing a great role in ensuring that the opponents forwards do not find it easy in the D plus the fact that he even comes forward and attack which is proving to be a big boost for the team. Also the cool as a cucumber Simon Child alongwith Lloyd Norris-Jones and Akashdeep Singh are ensuring that they outwit the defence with their stick work and passes.
Anticipating a good semi- final clash tomorrow, Coach of Jaypee Punjab Warriors Barry Dancer said, “It feels great to finish the league matches by being top of the points table. We are playing the semi- finals against Delhi Waveriders on Saturday and I am sure that it will be a tough game tomorrow. They have a good set of players and in order to combat the challenge, we will have to put in extra strength and double our efforts in order to win the match. We are working on our circle penetrations and ball possessions. The team is in full form and ready to put up a good show in the semi- final tomorrow.”
Speaking ahead of the semi-final match against Delhi Waveriders, Captain of Jaypee Punjab Warriors Jamie Dwyer said, “We are excited to play the semi- finals tomorrow against Delhi Waveriders who are equally strong. Although we have won all the matches played against Delhi Waveriders till now, but the challenge is going to be really tough. Tomorrow’s match is important for us as the results will have bearing on finals of the league. Our strategy would be to work on our strengths and improve upon the problem areas so as to convert maximum scoring opportunities into goals. We won the last match played against Dabang Mumbai which undoubtedly boost up our morale and confidence. So we need to keep the rhythm going and play a wonderful game.”
Speaking on the upcoming semi- final clash Coach of Delhi Waveriders Cedric D’ Souza said, “It will be a tough clash tomorrow as both teams have a lot of strengths. Past performances don’t mean anything at this point and it is all about performance on the given day. We have done our homework and will do our utmost to follow the plan and win. But it will all boil down to which team can control play and capitalize on the opportunities created.”
Semi-Finals – February 21, 2015, New Delhi
Semi-Final 1 – 16:30hrs IST – Ranchi Rays VS Uttar Pradesh Wizards.
Semi Final 2 – 19:00hrs IST – Jaypee Punjab Warriors VS Delhi Waveriders