Punjab keen to redeem its pride against Ranchi

Punjab struggled to get its act together against a rampaging Dabang Mumbai, which pumped in five field goals exposing Punjab’s porous defence in Hockey India League on Friday.

Punjab, consisting of prominent names in world hockey such as Simon Orchard, Mark Knowles and Jake Whetton will hope to play to its potential and give an all-round showing against a strong Ranchi.   -  Akhilesh Kumar

After suffering a 10-4 loss in its league opener, bottom-placed defending champion Jaypee Punjab Warriors will be keen to redeem its pride when it meets Ranchi Rays at the Astroturf Stadium, the latter’s home, on Wednesday.

Punjab struggled to get its act together against a rampaging Dabang Mumbai, which pumped in five field goals exposing Punjab’s porous defence.

Even though Punjab answered back with strikes from Matt Ghodes and Arman Qureshi, it failed to make the most of its circle penetrations and penalty corners.

Punjab, consisting of some prominent names in world hockey such as Aussies Simon Orchard, Mark Knowles and Jake Whetton and Dutch players Robert van der Horst and Mink van der Weerden, will hope to play to its potential and give an all-round showing against a strong Ranchi.

For Punjab, consisting of some Indian stars such as midfilder Sardar Singh and forward S.V. Sunil, the primary aim will be to make a well-coordinated effort.

Ranchi was a little lacklustre in its goalless against Delhi Waveriders the other night. “We were lucky to get two points but did not play too well. We made circle penetrations but could not create goals. And we did not have any penalty corners.

“Good that our defence thwarted the pressure from Delhi,” said Rays coach Harendra Singh. Ranchi captain Ashley Jackson was all the more blunt.

“We were not very clever when we got into their 25 yards and the circle. We played individual games too much. We have to keep possession (in the next match); we were a bit low on energy,” said Jackson.

The Ranchi midfield, including Barry Middleton, Manpreet Singh and Gurbaj Singh, will eye to provide good support to its forwards and assist them in finishing off moves. Backed by its noisy supporters, Ranchi should have an edge over Punjab.

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