Ranji Trophy: Fight for group toppers as Bengal face-off Vidarbha

[caption id="attachment_57678" align="aligncenter" width="580"]7A0A6845 Bengal cricket team captain Manoj Tiwary, Ashoke Dinda and Wriddhiman Saha in a conversation at the Eden Gardens. Image Source: XtraTime[/caption]

Kolkata: It will be a battle to take the top spot as Bengal hosts Vidarbha in Group D clash at Kalyani starting from Thursday. Bengal is currently placed in the third spot with 13 points from 3 matches while Vidarbha has pocketed 14 points from similar number of matches. Punjab is currently on top in the group with 15 points but they have played a match more.

The home team will look to shrug off the frustration from the last match when they were forced to be content with 3 points against Himachal Pradesh at Eden Gardens. Vidarbha on the other hand will be confident following their 192 runs win against Services.

Both teams will be without their pace spearheads Md Shami and Umesh Yadav, as they have been advised rest by the BCCI ahead of the series against Sri Lanka at home.

Bengal is likely to go in with two changes with left arm medium pacer Kanishk Seth coming in for Md Shami and injured Mukesh Kumar making way for Ishan Porel. The onus will be on Dinda to lead the pace department for Bengal. The fast bowler has been in tremendous form picking 18 wickets in his last two matches. The home team will definitely miss the service of Md Shami.

According to Wriddhiman Saha, “Shami has been in and around with the Bengal team as he is mostly on national duty. His presence has always been a big boost for us. But we have other players also who are good. The bottom line is to perform”

The match against Vidarbha will be Saha’s last match in group stage. Talking about the Vidarbha match, Saha said, “Every match is crucial. The next two matches will also be important as the group standings will be decided. Personally speaking, I always thrived to do well against any oppoenent.”

Wriddhiman will be back at his favourite home turf Eden Gardens when India takes on Sri Lanka for the first test. The wicketkeeper batsman was the Man of the Match against New Zealand.

“My target will be to repeat the same performance,” said Saha.

Mohammed Shami also bent his back in the nets and is also going with the team to motivate the players.

Later on, asked about the practice, the skipper Manoj Tiwary said, ''The team is looking good. We're all geared up for the match.We'll try to fetch the maximum points, but at first we want to ensure three points.'' He also lauded Shami's decision to be in Kalyani-"It will be good for our bowling unit. His experience will come handy.''

Seasoned campaigner and highest run getter in Ranji Trophy, Wasim Jaffer will be the mainstay in Vidarbha batting. Vidarbha will also rely on Karn Sharma to come good in spin department.

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