The Delhi Waveriders and the Ranchi Rhinos will play in the championship final of the Hockey India League, and also for $500,000. The Delhi Waveriders beat the Punjab Warriors 3-1, and the Rhinos beat the UP Wizards 4-2 in the semi finals on Saturday. Delhi,lead by Indian captain Sardar Singh, have lost just one game in the tournament, an inconsequential one against the Wizards, and have been dominant in defense. The Rhinos had a couple of scares midway through the tournament, but have rallied brilliantly around their foreign players (Nick Wilson of the Blacksticks, Justin Reid Ross of South Africa and Ashley Jackson of England) to become a force to reckon with.
The Delhi team tend to organize their attacking plays around their imposing captain, Sardar Singh. Yuvraj Valmiki and Gurvinder Chandi (both players from India’s national team) have been brilliant in attack, and they have been excellently supported by imports Simon Child of New Zealand, Oscar Deeke of Germany and Lloyd Norris Jones of South Africa. Nicolas Jacobi has been brilliant in goal, and they look like a team that is hard to displace.
The Rhinos have been buoyed by what many critics are calling the “find of the tournament”, young Mandeep Singh of India. Singh has been very menacing upfront, and scored an excellent goal against Uttar Pradesh in the semi finals to put the game beyond the reach of the Wizards. Ranchi are lead by German Moritz Fuertse. Nick Wilson of the Blacksticks has been in excellent form, as has Austin Smith and Justin Reid Ross of South Africa. Ashley Jackson of England is always menacing around penalty corners, and Francisco Cortes has been steady in goal.
So what’s our line for the final? We are going to go with Delhi by one goal. Final score – Delhi Waveriders 3, Ranchi Rhinos 2. Stick-off at 8pm local India time on Sunday.