Ranji Trophy: Full-strength Delhi faces determined Madhya Pradesh

A full-strength Delhi takes on determined Madhya Pradesh that has claimed two victories on the trot in the Ranji Trophy on Saturday.

Rajat Patidar has been outstanding for Madhya Pradesh this season, having scored 558 runs in the Ranji Trophy 2018-19 season.   -  M. VEDHAN

Delhi and Madhya Pradesh have to be thankful for the efforts of the six-member ground staff for preparing a pitch and outfield for their Ranji Trophy match commencing at the Ferozeshah Kotla here from Saturday.

The Board’s neutral curator, Sunil Chauhan from Himachal Pradesh, and local in-charge Ankit Datta, with assistance from four workers hired for the purpose, contributed unflinchingly to create the playing conditions for what is going to be a critical contest for the two sides.

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A flash strike by the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) workers union, demanding reinstatement of an employee suspended by the previous administration headed by Justice (Retd) Vikramajit Sen, left the two curators with no choice but to rely on external support on the eve of the match.

The teams went through their preparations on the practice pitches on Friday. A full-strength Delhi faces a determined Madhya Pradesh that has claimed two victories on the trot.

“We know Delhi is a strong team but we come here with lot of confidence. We are a team in transition and hope to build on the wins against Hyderabad and Kerala,” said MP coach Syed Abbas Ali.

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Rajat Patidar (558 runs) and Yash Dubey (346 runs) have been the in-form batsmen for MP, which has 18 points from five matches. Delhi, with the same number of matches, is poorly placed with seven points.

“It has been a tough season. We were not at our full strength. The bowling department had suffered the most. We are a young side too like MP and need time to realise our potential,” observed Delhi coach Mithun Manhas.

The teams

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

Madhya Pradesh: Naman Ojha, Rajat Patidar, Aryaman Birla, Ankit Dane, Shubham Sharma, Anshul Tripathi, Yash Dubey, Anand Singh Bais, Venkatesh Iyer, Ishwar Pandey, Gourav Yadav, Avesh Khan, Kuldeep Sen, Kartikeya Kumar Singh, Mihir Hirwani and Puneet Datey.