Hyderabad: Hyderabad and Delhi have a lot to prove as they face off in the third round of the Elite Group A & B Ranji Trophy match at Arun Jaitley Stadium, New Delhi on Wednesday.
Tanmay’s men started their campaign on the wrong foot with back-to-back losses against Gujarat and Punjab and are yet to open their account. The most disappointing show was their second innings performance against Punjab where they were dismissed for 76 runs. The visitors’ batsmen, barring wicket-keeper batsman Kolla Sumanth with two fifties, failed to put up enough runs and have put the bowlers under pressure.
The onus will once again be on seasoned openers Tanmay Agarwal and Akshath Reddy along with vice-captain B Sandeep to lead the Hyderabad batting. However, Tanmay’s men will have to be at their best as the hosts will be fielding their best eleven with the likes of Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan, pacers Ishant Sharma and Navdeep Saini for the match. It may be recalled that Hyderabad top and middle order failed miserably to Gujarat and Punjab pacers in their opening two matches. Dhawan and Ishant are coming back from injuries and Chairman of Selectors MSK Prasad had revealed that their member Sarandeep Singh will be watching this match.
Hyderabad bowling, led by Indian international Mohd Siraj, did offer initial breakthroughs but failed to make inroads into the opposition batting. It was Manpreet Juneja (94) in the first match and Gujarat skipper Mandeep Singh (204 not out) who made light of their bowling to lead the team’s recovery. Hyderabad are likely to bring back pacer Ravi Kiran and PS Chaitanya/J Mallikarjun in place of Yudhvir Singh and GA Shashidhar Reddy, who has looked out of sorts in the first two matches.
Delhi side, led by Nitish Rana, survived an innings-defeat scare against Kerala to gain a draw and lost to Andhra by nine wickets in the second match. However, the presence of senior Indian cricketers may just be the right motivation for a relatively younger side with limited experience.
The cold conditions in Delhi could prove a big handicap to the Hyderabad team although the weather reports suggest it is expected to be sunny and conductive for the next four days.