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It's a 'dream game' for this Waverider from Mumbai

Saturday, 15 February 2014 - 6:00am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

Saturday's match between the Mumbai Magicians and the Delhi Waveriders might be purely academic, with Mumbai already out of the semis race and Delhi sitting pretty at the top. For one man, though, it is anything but that.

Mumbai's Yuvraj Walmiki can't wait to play in front of his home crowd, albeit for the Delhi boys.

"It's a dream game for me," Yuvraj told dna. "Playing in front of the entire Mumbai crowd is already getting me so excited. I would've loved to play for my home team, but that's not in my control."

And while the crowd response to the HIL in Mumbai has been rather poor so far, Yuvraj said he'll be getting his entire contingent of family, friends, relatives and well-wishes to the Mumbai Hockey Association stadium come Saturday.

"I'll be getting all my people for the match. The list is already more than 100!" he added.

Much has changed for Yuvraj since the last season of the HIL, with the 23-year-old being in and out of the Indian team for the best part of last year. But his return to the national fold in the Hockey World League last month has brought him back on track, and the forward has continued his good form in the HIL.

Yuvraj, as well as the Magicians, will very well remember their last match this season almost a week ago, when the former slammed the winner in the dying minutes to give Waveriders the lead, and eventually the match.

"I hope to score the winning goal again and end our team's run on a victorious note," he said. Clearly, Mumbaikars can expect no home mercy from this Delhi Waverider.

On to the match, and the Magicians will be back on the field after a break of five days. Not that it can make much of an impact, for they're already out of the tournament, and are yet to find their first win in the three weeks of hockey that they've played. They did manage to put up a spirited fight in their 0-1 loss to defending champions Ranchi Rhinos in their last game at home, but that's pretty much been their story this season – so near yet so far.

"We are practising hard and making our full efforts to perform well. It will be good for us to finish the tournament on a stronger note," Magicians' captain Glenn Turner said.

The Sardar Singh-led Waveriders, on the other hand, will play their last league game here and have no reasons to worry. With six wins in nine games and their team clicking as a unit, they're sitting atop the points table, assured of playing the knockouts.

Stopwatch: Kalinga Lancers (Aran Zeleski 23) Ranchi Rhinos
Playing Today: Punjab Warriors vs Uttar Pradesh Wizards (Live on Star Sports 1 at 6 pm); Mumbai Magicians vs Delhi Waveriders (Live on Star Sports 1 at 8 pm)

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