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Rediff.com  » Sports » HIL: Dhoni's Ranchi Rays on course for title defence

HIL: Dhoni's Ranchi Rays on course for title defence

February 13, 2016 19:54 IST

Ranchi Rays

IMAGE: Ranchi Rays and Uttar Pradesh Wizards players in action. Photograph: HIL

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

It was India’s ODI skipper, Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s boys’ fourth consecutive win on home ground the Astro Turf Hockey Stadium.

With 32 points in their kitty from six win and three losses, Ranchi Rays are atop the leader board and are the first team to have booked a semi-final berth in the ongoing season of the HIL.

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

The first quarter saw the hosts playing most of their game either on the midfield or in the UP Wizards circle.

But the defence line of UP Wizards spearheaded by star goalkeeper PR Sreejesh stood tall to spoil all the efforts from of Ranchi Rays.

An occasional move that UP Wizards managed to create on the counter was disrupted even before they could enter the hosts circle as the first quarter ended goalless.

The second quarter was no different as it was majorly dominated by Ranchi Rays.

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 as according to new scoring rules one field strike is counted as two.

In the fourth and final quarter, Ranchi Rays continued to press hard and tasted success once again in the 47th minute when the hosts scored their second field goal through skipper Ashley Jackson.

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

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