HIL: Mumbai Magicians hit for a six

Mumbai franchise slump to sixth defeat in seven games — this time to Ranchi Rhinos

History repeated itself at the MHA-Mahindra Stadium yesterday and it was not just in the form of the result, where Mumbai Magicians lost their sixth Hockey India League encounter out of seven played so far. But it was the manner in which Mumbai lost that was similar to what transpired at the same venue a day earlier.

Ranchi Rhinos’ Ashley Jackson  (right) and Mumbai Magicians’ Faisal Saari vie for the ball  at the MHA-Mahindra Hockey Stadium yesterday. PIC/SureshKK 

On Saturday, Jaypee Punjab Warriors’ SV Sunil was allowed a free run down the centre of the Mumbai striking circle before he pushed home to score the opening goal of the Magician’s 1-4 defeat. And yesterday the casual Magicians defence, who seem to be reeling under a spell of their own, allowed Ranchi Rhinos’ forward Justin Reid-Ross to stroll in through the centre of the striking circle and unleash a powerful reverse hit into the net. The 11th minute goal was the only interesting bit of action in the match right up to the fourth quarter when both teams got one penalty corner each. In between, both sides dished out some mediocre hockey even as the visiting side seemed happy with the slender lead and Mumbai hardly threatened to equalise.

In the fourth quarter, Reid-Ross had an opportunity to double his team’s lead in the form of a penalty corner but his effort was neatly blocked by Mumbai ’keeper David Harte, who then warded off a rebound attempt by German Moritz Furste too. Mumbai also earned a penalty corner in the dying seconds of the match and as the final hooter was sounded all 10 of Mumbai’s players (goalkeeper excluded) stepped up to the Punjab striking circle. However, drag-flicker Gurjinder Singh ensured none of his teammates’ assistance was needed as he flicked straight into the body of Punjab custodian Francisco Cortes, who calmly blocked the effort to ensure Mumbai’s string of defeats at HIL continues.

Earlier in the day, Uttar Pradesh Wizards beat Kalinga Lancers 3-1 in another HIL match in Lucknow.

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