Semi-finals will be a game of nerves – Harendra Singh, Coach, Ranchi Rays
18th February, 2016, Ranchi: The month long 4th Coal India Hockey India League has entered its final phase. Defending Champions and hosts Ranchi Rays along with Jaypee Punjab Warriors, Delhi Waveriders and Kalinga Lancers are the four teams who have qualified for the Semi – Finals which will played on the 20th February 2016 at the Astro Turf Hockey Stadium, Ranchi. The Finals and the 3rd / 4thplace playoff will be played on the 21st February 2016 at the same venue. Ticket sales for the Semi-Finals and Finals have already begun in Ranchi, and are available at select locations as well as the tickets can also be purchased online from www.ticketgenie.in . The tickets for both the days are priced from INR 200 & 300 respectively.
Defending Champions Ranchi Rays finished the league stage of the tournament with 37 points in this edition from seven wins and three losses. Ranchi Rays who finished the league at the top of the points table of the 4th Coal India Hockey India League will face fourth placed and arch rivals Kalinga Lancers in the much awaited Semi-Final encounter on 20th February 2016.
Ranchi Rays would walk in to the ground with an edge over their opponents on Saturday 20th February 2016. Their performance in the league where they have won many matches after trailing the first half has only showcased their class and the nerves of steel that the team possesses. A few advantages that the team would enjoy over their opponents and first time semi-finalist Kalinga Lancers are – the crowd support will be a huge advantage for Ranchi who will be playing on home turf, secondly the hosts have had a rare distinction of remaining unbeaten on their home ground so far this season and finally Kalinga Lancers have been defeated by Ranchi Rays on both their earlier encounters in the league so far.
“We are taking one match at a time and just preparing for the Semi-Final. Our focus will shift to the next level only after the Semi-Finals is over. The team has played well so far and we intend to continue playing the same way and not complicate things. This is the final phase of the tournament and the team who will hold on to their nerves and convert their opportunities to ensure they make it to the Finals on Sunday 21st February 2016,” said Harendra Singh, Coach, Ranchi Rays.
Their Captain Ashley Jackson’s performance in this tournament will also add bonus points to their confidence levels. Ashley who has been in top form has scored 14 goals in the tournament so far, one short of the leading goal scorer Glenn Turner from Kalinga Lancers. The defending champions have converted 11 penalty corners this season, eight of which has been through none other than the Captain Ashley Jackson himself. Ranchi Rays who have been traditionally known for their defence, proved their critics wrong this season displaying supreme attacking style of play, with one of the best goal differences in the pool stage.
The six team annual franchise based hockey league, the flagship event of Hockey India – the apex body governing the sport in the country and sanctioned by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) is being played across six venues in India from 18th January - 21st February 2016.