Ranji Trophy: J & K, Railways to target outright win in vital third-round match

Both Jammu and Kashmir and Railways will push for an outright win to keep their bid for a quarterfinal berth alive in a Ranji Trophy Group C encounter at the IIT Chemplast Ground in Chennai on Thursday. 

Ian Dev Singh's Jammu and Kashmir side will face Railways in a must-win third-round match of the ongoing Ranji Trophy season from Thursday. (File photo)   -  G.P. Sampath Kumar

Both Jammu and Kashmir and Railways will push for an outright win to keep their bid for a quarterfinal berth alive in a Ranji Trophy Group C encounter at the IIT Chemplast Ground in Chennai on Thursday.  

While Jammu and Kashmir is coming off a defeat against powerhouse Karnataka after a thumping eight-wicket opening-round win over Pondicherry and sits second with six points, an undefeated Railways is third with four points, having drawn both its games.  

Only a win will enable either teams to upstage Karnataka, considering it loses or concedes the first innings lead in the case of a draw against a struggling Pondicherry side.  

“We are the favourites to win,” Jammu and Kashmir head coach Sanjeev Sharma said ahead of the high-stakes clash that is set to be held at the site of the team’s agonising loss against Karnataka.

READ: Ranji Trophy: Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh to fight for knockout spot

Jammu and Kashmir put up an admirable fight in the second innings after being bundled out for 93 as skipper Ian Dev Singh and Abdul Samad paired for a 143-run fifth wicket stand to make the Karnataka bowlers toil.  

Samad’s Sunrisers Hyderabad teammate Umran Malik, who has leaked runs for his six wickets in two matches, will look to use his raw pace to good effect on a wicket which saw Karnataka pacer Prasidh Krishna claim a ten-fer. Meanwhile, off spinner Parvez Rasool, with 14 wickets in two games, will be key as the surface wears out.  

The Jammu and Kashmir bowling attack will need to up the ante against a formidable Railways batting line-up, propped up by Arindam Ghosh and Mohammad Saif in the middle-order. The Karn Sharma-led side piled misery on a clueless Pondicherry with 525 runs and the batting delivered again with 426 runs in the first essay in reply to Karnataka’s 481, narrowly missing out on the first innings lead.  

Pacers Amit Mishra and Yuvraj Singh will spearhead the attack, having scalped 19 of the 32 wickets taken by the team so far. Captain Karn Sharma, who has been lacklustre with just three wickets in the two matches, will need to step up to the plate and plug the holes in the bowling department.  

With the match and the group enticingly poised, there is always the chance of rain playing spoilsport as a low-pressure area hovering over the Bay of Bengal threatens a heavy downpour.   

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