Ranji Trophy 2019-20: Desperate Delhi seeks revival against in-form Gujarat

A desperate Delhi returns to home turf in search of a win against an in-form Gujarat and stay in the hunt for a place in the quarterfinals of the Ranji Trophy.

Delhi's Bikash Mishra celebrates after dismissing Manoj Tiwary during a Ranji Trophy match against Bengal.   -  PTI Photo

A desperate Delhi returns to home turf in search of a win against an in-form Gujarat and stay in the hunt for a place in the quarterfinals of the Ranji Trophy cricket here.

As things stand on the eve of this key-clash, Gujarat (26 points from six matches) is placed second, behind Andhra (27). Delhi (17 points from six matches) is ninth and faces a must-win situation in what is the penultimate clash for these teams in the league.

Delhi emerged victorious in both its previous home encounters. But what has hurt the host is the addition of just five points from four outstation engagements.

Gujarat, having won its last two matches, could well prove a handful for Delhi, which is without an injured Ishant Sharma and utility-man Lalit Yadav.

Read: Parthiv Patel credits domestic structure for India's all-format success

Even without Parthiv Patel, who scored just 159 runs in eight innings spread over five matches, Gujarat looks formidable considering the form of Bhargav Merai (399 runs from 10 innings) and Priyank Panchal (344 from nine). In addition, Manpreet Juneja (268) and Samit Gohel (256) have done their job.

Among the bowlers, left-arm medium pacer Roosh Kalaria (24 wickets), medium-pacer Chintan Gaja (22) and left-arm medium pacer Arzan Nagwaswalla (20) have played their part in Gujarat winning four out of six matches. This week, the trio could again make the decisive difference in conditions conducive to fast bowling.

Similarly, Delhi will expect Simarjeet Singh (21 wickets), comeback-man left-arm medium pacer Kulwant Khejrolia and young all-rounder Kunwar Bidhuri (7) to cause maximum damage.

Delhi overly relies on Nitish Rana (467 runs), skipper Dhruv Shorey (276) and Kunal Chandela (273). Unless more batsmen apply themselves, Delhi cannot complete a much-needed win.

“I expect at least two batsmen from Delhi top-order to bat long,” said coach K. P. Bhaskar and continued, “after all, we are desperately seeking a win. Unless we give our bowlers enough runs to bowl out the opposition twice, we cannot advance. The boys are keen to win the last two matches. We hope for the best.”

Group A: Delhi v Gujarat (New Delhi); Punjab v Andhra (Patiala); Rajasthan v Bengal (Jaipur); Vidarbha v Kerala (Nagpur).

Group B: Baroda v Tamil Nadu (Vadodara); Karnataka v Madhya Pradesh (Shimoga); Railways v Himachal (New Delhi); Saurashtra v Mumbai (Rajkot).

Group C: Haryana v Assam (Lahli); Jharkhand v Chhattisgarh (Jamshedpur); Maharashtra v Odisha (Pune); Tripura v Jammu & Kashmir (Agartala); Uttarakhand v Services (Dehradun).

Plate: Arunachal Pradesh v Bihar (Patna); Chandigarh v Mizoram (Chandigarh); Manipur v Pondicherry (Kolkata); Meghalaya v Sikkim (Mangaldoi); Nagaland v Goa (Dimapur).

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