Ranji Round 6 Preview

Defending champions Karnataka will face Odisha at the Srikantadatta Narasimha Raja Wadeyar Ground in Mysore, a venue of which they do not have fond memories. But a counterattacking showing in the previous round, for their first win of the season, will give them confidence.

Shreyas Iyer has been the rock of Mumbai's batting this season.   -  PTI

Robin Uthappa's attacking 160 helped Karnataka gain their first win of the season.   -  R. V. Moorthy

Karnataka, last week, exhibited intent and urgency to sow the seeds of an outright victory against Rajasthan in Jaipur, when it looked like they would have to make do with three points via a first-innings lead. Instead, they gained six points from the game that lifted them to the third spot in the Group A table. On Saturday, they will face Odisha at the Srikantadatta Narasimha Raja Wadeyar Ground in Mysore, the crowd of which venue heckled them enough in their previous contest against Haryana to induce senior batsman Robin Uthappa to voice a complaint about it.

The change in venue having been ruled out, however, Uthappa and his unit will want to experience an outing of a different kind than in that match. They avoided defeat by two wickets, to gain a point from it. But it was Uthappa, with his counterattacking century, which helped them churn out the win in the next round.

Odisha, like Karnataka, have won a game so far in the Ranji Trophy, and drawn the rest. But they will face an uphill task to upset a team that seems to have regained the traits that defined them as champions. The one standout performer for Odisha has been medium-fast bowler Basant Mohanty, who has claimed 24 wickets in seven innings at an average of 14, but their batting unit has failed to effect a single first-innings lead in their drawn games.

The squads (from):

Karnataka: R. Vinay Kumar (Capt.), Robin Uthappa, R. Samarth, Karun Nair, C.M. Gautam, Abhishek Reddy, Shreyas Gopal, S. Arvind, A. Mithun, H.S. Sharath, Udit Patel, David Mathias, Mayank Agarwal, J. Suchith, Stuart Binny, and Mir Kaunain Abbas.

Odisha: Biplab Samantray (Capt.), Natraj Behara, Girija Rout, Bhatrajesh Dhuper, Govind Podder, Anurag Sarangi, Pratik Das, Ranjit Singh, Haladhar Das, Basant Mohanty, Deepak Behera, Suryakant Pradhan, Alok Sahoo, Alok Mangaraj, Dhiraj Singh, and Amit Das.

UP aim to upset table-toppers

Mumbai, the 2012-13 champions, will be engaged in a top-table battled in Group B with Uttar Pradesh. With two wins and two drawn matches, they lead the table, having collected 17 points. They had an indifferent start to the tournament in a drawn game against Andhra, but since them have played well in crucial spurts to gain ground. They turned a likely defeat into a victory against a strong Tamil Nadu in the third round, and backed this up with solid showing against Baroda as well.

Shreyas Iyer, who helped shape the comeback against Tamil Nadu, sits second in the Ranji Trophy batting charts, behind Parvez Rasool. He has shouldered much of their batting responsibilities. He is likely to figure in the plans of his side’s next opponents Uttar Pradesh (UP), who have had a topsy-turvy run so far. The upside of the team led by former India international and swing bowler Praveen Kumar is that they seem to be in the middle of an upward swing. After a drawn run-glut against Madhya Pradesh, they were bowled out for 58 against Railways for a 282-run loss. They seemed to be heading for another defeat in the next round, but instead stunned Andhra, who were bowled out for 126, chasing 183. Kumar starred in their follow-up win, which pushed them up in the points table.

Fixtures:

Group A

Bengal vs Vidarbha in Kolkata

Delhi vs Maharashtra in Delhi

Haryana vs Assam in Rohtak

Karnataka vs Odisha in Mysore

Group B

Gujarat vs Baroda, Valsad

Madhya Pradesh vs Railways, Gwalior

Mumbai vs Uttar Pradesh, Mumbai

Tamil Nadu vs Andhra, Chennai

Group C

Himachal Pradesh vs Services, Dharamsala

Jharkhand vs Services, Jammu and Kashmir

Kerala vs Tripura, Malappuram

Saurashtra vs Goa, Rajkot

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