HIL: Ranchi Rays defeat UP Wizards to book S/F berth

With 32 points in its kitty from six win and three losses, Ranchi is at the top of the leader board and is the first team to have booked a semi-final berth in the ongoing season of the HIL.

Ranchi Rays skipper Ashley Jackson celebrating his goal with his teammates   -  Special Arrangement

Defending champion Ranchi Rays today displayed its class and routed Uttar Pradesh Wizards 6-0 in a round robin match to seal its semi-final berth in the fourth edition of the Hockey India League, here today.

It was Ranchi Rays’ fourth consecutive win on its home ground, the Astro Turf Hockey Stadium.

With 32 points in its kitty from six win and three losses, Ranchi is at the top of the leader board and is the first team to have booked a semi-final berth in the ongoing season of the HIL.

Ranchi Rays, which is unbeaten so far on home turf, started on an attacking note against the UP Wizards.

The first quarter saw the host playing most of its game either on the midfield or in the UP Wizards circle. But the defence line of UP Wizards, spearheaded by star goalkeeper P. R, Sreejesh, stood tall to spoil all the efforts from Ranchi Rays.

Occasional moves that UP Wizards managed to create on the counter were disrupted even before the team could enter the host’s half, as the first quarter ended goalless.

The second quarter was no different as it was majorly dominated by Ranchi Rays. It pressed hard to score and managed to find gaps in the UP Wizards defensive line but some outstanding saves from Sreejesh kept the visiting team in the game.

Ranchi Rays, which managed to get five penalty corners alone in the second half (three back-to-back), could not capitalise on a single one, due to some scintillating saves from Sreejesh, as both the teams failed to break the deadlock at half time.

The third quarter began with the visitor adopting a more aggressive approach. It made a few attempts to score but was unsuccessful to break through the Ranchi defence.

On the counter, Ranchi Rays made some quick attacking moves and finally tasted success in the 40th minute through a spectacular field goal from Flynn Ogilvie, to ensure a 2-0 lead.

In the fourth and final quarter, Ranchi Rays continued to press hard and tasted success once again in the 47th minute, when the host scored its second field goal through skipper Ashley Jackson ( >read his interview here).

Ranchi sealed the game in its favour in the 59th minute through another field strike which came from the sticks of from Sumit Kumar.

The Result: Ranchi Rays 6-0 Uttar Pradesh Wizards