Abhishek Raman

Ranji Trophy: Confident Bengal looks to seal knock-out berth against Goa

[caption id="attachment_58677" align="aligncenter" width="580"]Image Source: CAB Cricket Image Source: CAB Cricket[/caption]

Kolkata: Manoj Tiwari and his team needs just three points from their final Group D encounter against Goa at the Eden Gardens to qualify for knock-out stages. Bengal are now placed second in the group with 20 points, five points clear of third placed Punjab. Vidarbha with 21 points has already confirmed a berth in the knock-outs.

Except for the debacle against Vidarbha, Tiwari and his boys have generally played well. While, the openers are among runs, middle order batsmen are having a good season too. The lower order also contributed when it mattered. Both pace and spin had been fruitful for Bengal.

The hosts will be handicapped with the absence of in form Ishan Porel and India players Wriddhiman Saha and Md. Shami. Both Shami and Saha are on national duties playing in the second test match against Sri Lanka.

Experienced Ashoke Dinda will have to shoulder the responsibility in the bowling department along with B.Amit and newbie Pradipta Pramanick . Sayan Ghosh is likely to replace him in the playing XI.
Skipper Manoj Tiwary said, ''We are concentrating on our strengths. We will try to execute our plans properly and play to the condition.We are playing well in this season.The youngsters are taking up responsibilities, and doing well under pressure.''

He further added, ''We will miss Ishan surely. But we have the players who can replace him.''
Goa coach Prakash Mayekar said, '' We are under-dogs here. Bengal is a very strong side, snatching an out-right win against good side like Punjab depicts the character of the side. But we believe in ourselves. We have prepared well and will try our best to play well.In cricket,anything is possible and we will go into the game with a positive mindset.''
Goa skipper, Sagun Kamat, said, ''We have a very young side.After Shadab Jakati got injured, bowling unit does not have much experience.But we are looking forward to play positively.'

The visitors are in complete disarray going into the match. Both batters and bowlers are having disappointing campaign except against Himachal Pradesh when both the openers smashed tons. The experienced left-arm orthodox Shadab Jakati will miss the game due to injury.


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