New Delhi: Delhi Waveriders would look to carry their unbeaten run into the semi-finals when they take on Uttar Pradesh Wizards in their final league encounter of the Hockey India League, here on Thursday. If Waveriders can manage to beat UP, they will become the first team in the League to reach the last-four stage without losing a single match.
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 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 over the hosts would catapult them to the third spot above the Jaypee Punjab Warriors, who completed their league commitments on 29 points with a loss against Waveriders.
Wizards have to raise their game several notches up if they are become first team to beat the Waveriders. The 1-0 victory over Magicians was hardly a confident showing for the Roelant Oltmans coached side and they cant afford to waste any chances against the hosts.
If Waveriders can manage to beat UP, they will become the first team in the League to reach the last-four stage without losing a single match.
It will also be interesting to see whether the Wizards have enough reverses in their tank to keep the pressure on the hosts for the entire 70 minute duration against a team that has made it a habit to punish their opponents by stepping up the pace of the match in the last quarter. Delhi Waveriders coach AK Bansal said that he will try some junior players in the last league match.
"We want to rest some players for the semi-final clash and try some young players. We are not taking any pressure as we already are in the semis and leading the points table," he stated.
Uttar Prdesh Wizards skipper VR Raghunath they would look to go into semis with a win against a formidabe team.
"It's our last league match. After this, the semis will start. We had a great match yesterday and we are looking forward to strike a win tomorrow against Delhi Waveriders," Raghunath added.