When Mumbai Magicians enter the field at MHAL Stadium on Tuesday, they will have no other choice but to beat Uttar Pradesh Wizards if they are to keep alive their hopes of entering the Hockey India League semifinals.
The race for the fourth semifinal spot opened up when UP lost to high-flying Delhi Wave Riders 0-3 in Lucknow on Sunday.
A loss here against the Lucknow franchise would bring an end to Magicians’ campaign. Currently, Wizards lead Magicians by eight goals (22-14). But the Magicians need to win not only against UP but also their final match against Ranchi Rhinos on February 7 and pray that Wizards lose to Wave Riders.
The fact that the Magicians blanked Wizards 4-0 in their previous meeting should boost their confidence going in to Tuesday’s match. Magicians put up their best display against the Wizards in the previous encounter to post their only win of the tournament.
Meanwhile in Jalandhar, Punjab Warriors would get a last chance to settle scores against Waveriders when they host the leaders in their last league encounter at Surjit Singh Hockey Stadium on Tuesday.
Both teams have booked their semifinal berths and the result is unlikely to affect the Wave Riders, who are safely perched on the top with 44 points.
The Warriors are currently third with 27 points.
But like all the other teams in the competition, the Warriors have never managed to conquer the domineering Wave Riders.