Ranji Trophy: Hyderabad seeks season's first win against Railways

Railways lost by an innings and 105 runs against Delhi in its last game. Hyderabad, after two wash-outs and a tough loss to Karnataka, is still searching for a win this season. In the nippy conditions of Delhi, this battle promises to intrigue.

With Hyderabad's ace pacer Mohammed Siraj absent, the onus will be on Pragyan Ojha (centre) to get the team its first win.   -  V. V. SUBRAHMANYAM

Two big wins away and an equally big defeat at home — Railways has had an eventful season so far in the Ranji Trophy. Returning home after an innings defeat of Assam in its previous outing, it'd be hoping to carry the momentum when it faces Hyderabad in the fourth round starting on Wednesday at the Karnail Singh Stadium here.

Even though winter is yet to set in here, the mornings and evenings have gotten nippier, the days end quickly and it would affect the teams' plans.

During the previous game here, which Railways lost by an innings and 105 runs against Delhi, the pitch kept low, the occasional ball skidded on. It was Ishant Sharma and Delhi's spin attack that helped it take the upper hand and Hyderbad would be hoping it would be able to do the same, led by the experience of left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha, assisted by Mehdi Hasan.

For the visiting team, it's been a tough start to the season. Its first two games – both at home – were washed away and the team went down fighting to table-topper Karnataka in its last game away. Coach J. Arunkumar would be hoping his players get used to the Delhi weather soon and get a full game.

He would also be hoping for his bowlers to deliver. The team would not have the services of fast bowler Mohammed Siraj after the youngster was called up for the T20 Internationals against New Zealand, adding pressure to the rest of the bowlers. Ojha, who was released from Bengal at the beginning of the season, would need to take up the responsibility.

The last time Railways played on this ground, it was outplayed in every department by a much stronger opponent. The host would be hoping to avoid a repeat of it.