Ranji Trophy 2018-19: Delhi challenge for Bengal

With 16 points, Bengal is placed eighth in the combined tally of Group A and B. Top five from the table will advance to the knockouts.

Bengal skipper Manoj Tiwary is disappointed over not getting a spinner-friendly pitch for Bengal’s crucial Ranji Trophy Group B match against Delhi starting at the Eden Gardens on Sunday.   -  PTI

Manoj Tiwary did not mince his words while expressing his disappointment over not getting a spinner-friendly pitch for Bengal’s crucial Ranji Trophy Group B match against Delhi starting at the Eden Gardens here on Sunday.

The last two group matches assume importance for Bengal, which conceded first innings lead to Andhra in the previous encounter and is faced with an uphill task of staying in the race for a quarterfinals berth.

Bengal (16 points) is placed eighth in the combined tally of Group A and B. Top five from the table will advance to the knockouts.

“I wanted a spinning track, but it does not seem to be one. One side of the pitch is dry, the other is not. Whatever be the pitch, we have to fight and play for six points. We are preparing with this mindset,” said Tiwary on Saturday.

“Had thought about playing three spinners (in this match). After seeing the pitch, I think three spinners may not be needed.”

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Tiwary, who led by example against Andhra, acknowledged that players needed to improve in all three departments. Asked why the team was still facing problems even after six matches, Tiwary said, “The experts (in the team) will be able tell you who is erring where.”

Of the three departments, inconsistent batting has troubled Bengal the most. Tiwary hoped that his batters would overcome all odds against Delhi, which had entered last year's final at the expense of Bengal.

Delhi, which has been hit hard by the absence of its key players -- such as Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant, Ishant Sharma, Navdeep Saini and Nitish Rana -- due to various National duties. The retirement of Gautam Gambhir has created a void.

Delhi (13 points) is 12th in the combined tally and will have to perform exceptionally well to be among the top-five after completing its group engagements.

Delhi, which banked on left-arm spinner Vikas Mishra's 12-wicket haul to thrash Madhya Pradesh in its last outing, would like to continue the winning momentum.

“The intent is more important than the pitch,” said Delhi coach Mithun Manhas.

The teams (from)

Bengal: Manoj Tiwary (captain), Sudip Chatterjee, Ashoke Dinda, Anustup Majumdar, Shreevats Goswami (wk), Abhishek Raman, Koushik Ghosh, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Mukesh Kumar, Ishan Porel, Pradipta Pramanik, Aamir Gani, Kanishk Seth, Writtick Chatterjee, Prayas Roy Barman and Agniv Pan (wk).

Delhi: Nitish Rana (captain), Dhruv Shorey, Lalit Yadav, Anuj Rawat (wk), Shivam Sharma, Subodh Bhati, Shivank Vashisht, Hiten Dalal, Himmat Singh, Navdeep Saini, Vikas Mishra, Jonty Sidhu, Kulwant Khejroliya, Akash Sudan and Kunal Chandela.