Ranji Trophy: Bengal set to unleash Shami-Dinda on Himachal

On the other hand, the team from the hills would bank on the batting trio comprising Prashant Chopra, Ankush Bains and Nikhil Gangta.

The seasoned duo of Mohammed Shami (L) and Ashok Dinda rattled the Chhatisgarh batsmen in Bengal's previous fixture.   -  H. VIBHU/K. BHAGYA PRAKASH

 

The duel between the top two Group D sides, Himachal Pradesh and Bengal, in the Ranji Trophy, starting at the Eden Gardens here on Wednesday, promises to be an intense one.

According to Himachal coach Vikram Rathour, “It will be a battle between Bengal bowlers and Himachal batsmen.”

Bengal bowlers, especially the seasoned duo of Ashok Dinda (10 wickets in the last fixture) and Mohammed Shami (8), have been in fine form.

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“Dinda and Shami are in best of form and we will try to take advantage of that,” asserted Bengal captain Manoj Tiwary.

Bengal has also done handsomely on the batting front. Sudip Chatterjee, who scored two centuries, may be leading the batting chart of the host, but contributions from others cannot be undermined.

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The responsible batting of young openers Abhishek Raman and Koushik Ghosh in the absence of Abhimanyu Easwaran against Chhattisgarh and the good touch shown by Tiwary and Wriddhiman Saha provide confidence to the side.

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Himachal batsmen have shone brightly with three of them finding slots inside the top 10 batters of the season so far. The trio of Prashant Chopra (415 runs including a triple hundred), Ankush Bains (304 including a century and two half-centuries) and Nikhil Gangta (272 including two centuries) has served Himachal well.

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The team has been dependent on off-spinner Gurvinder Singh, who has accounted for 17 wickets, in bowling. Gurvinder’s 10-wicket haul was responsible for Himachal recording a 97-run win over Services in Delhi.

Gurvinder, who had bamboozled Kerala at the Eden last year, would be keen to produce another magical performance even as the nature of the pitch might dictate the selection of spinners.

Himachal (12 points from three matches) and Bengal (10 from two) look settled for a tussle for supremacy over the next four days.

The teams (from):

Bengal: Manoj Tiwary (c), Koushik Ghosh, Abhishek Raman, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Sudip Chatterjee, Wriddhiman Saha (w-k), Anustup Majumdar, Writtick Chatterjee, Shrivats Goswami (wk), Aamir Gani, Pradipta Pramanik, Sayan Ghosh, Mukesh Kumar, Mohd. Shami, Ashok Dinda, Kanishk Seth, B. Amit.

Himachal Pradesh: Sumeet Verma (c), Priyanshu Khanduri, Prashant Chopra, Paras Dogra, Nikhil Gangta, Amit Kumar, Ankush Bains (wk), Rishi Dhawan, Gurvinder Singh, Mayank Dagar, Akash Vasisht, Akshay Chauhan, Pankaj Jaswal, Ankit Kaushik, Siddharth Sharma.