Ranji Trophy 2018-19: Hyderabad gets Siraj boost ahead of Bengal clash

Playing at home, the Akshath Reddy-led Hyderabad should have every reason to be optimistic of an improved performance against Bengal.

Hyderabad pacer Mohammed Siraj along with coach N. Arjun Yadav during a nets session on Thursday.   -  V.V. SUBRAHMANYAM

Hyderabad returns to home turf to rediscover the winning touch, after the drubbing it received from Madhya Pradesh in the last outing, when it takes on a confident Bengal in the Ranji Trophy Group B league match at Rajiv Gandhi Stadium on Friday.

For a team which recorded an outright win against Himachal Pradesh in the last game it played here, playing again at home Akshath Reddy’s team should have every reason to be optimistic of an improved performance.

Hyderabad has to clearly raise the bar as the championship inches closer to a decisive phase (it plays Punjab at home and then Andhra away in the last two games of the league phase).

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“We had one bad game in Indore. It is past and we have to look ahead and play positive cricket as this is a must-win game for us,” Akshath said.

The biggest plus for the home team will be the return of star pace bowler Mohammed Siraj, who interestingly had a long session with the bat in the nets this morning.

A lot depends on his striking prowess in the company of the other pace duo of Ravi Kiran and T. Ravi Teja.

Left-arm spinners Tanay Thyagarajan and Mehdi Hasan, who were disappointing when up against batsmen who were willing to use their feet in Indore, should make amends.

Bengal batsmen await their turn at the nets at the Uppal Stadium in Hyderabad on Thursday.   -  V.V. SUBRAHMANYAM

 

Hyderabad made two changes from the previous game with Siraj and Chama Milind coming in for Mohammad Mudassir and injured K. Sumanth.

On the other hand, Bengal comes here after its thrilling one-wicket win over Tamil Nadu.

“We go with the mindset of getting maximum points here. Psychologically we are up. We have done our home work, watched the videos, have plans in place and try to execute them,” said Bengal captain Manoj Tiwary.

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“Yes, toss will be crucial for it gives you the liberty to implement the strategies. Everyone is chipping for us. I am feeling good personally after the double century. Important for me to score big as our batting needs to pick up and I have a bigger responsibility,” he added.

For the record, Hyderabad has 12 points from five games while Bengal 12 from four matches.

The teams (from):

Hyderabad: P. Akshath Reddy (capt), Tanmay Agarwal, Rohit Rayudu, B. Sandeep, Himalay Agarwal, K.S.K. Chaitanya (wk), Mohammed Siraj, Ravi Kiran, Mehdi Hasan, Tanay Thyagarajan, P.S. Chaitanya Reddy, Kartikeya Kak, T. Ravi Teja and Saket Sai Ram.

Bengal: Manoj Tiwary (capt), Sudip Chatterjee, Ashoke Dinda, Anustup Majumdar, Sreevats Goswami, Abhishek Raman, Koushik Ghosh, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Mukesh Kumar, Praditpa Pramanik, Ishan Porel, Aamir Gani, Vivek Singh,Writtick Chatterjee and Shahbaz Ahamad.