Ranji Trophy 2019-20: Bengal, Andhra headed towards an interesting contest

For host Bengal, this has been one of the best starts in the past few seasons, considering the way it dominated a strong side like Kerala for an outright win.

Hanuma Vihari is the skipper of the Andhra team.

Hanuma Vihari is the skipper of the Andhra team.   -  S. Sudarshan

Host Bengal will look to cash on the gains of the big win it registered against Kerala in the latter’s home when it takes on Andhra in its first home outing of the current Ranji Trophy season, at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Wednesday.

Much like Bengal, Andhra too notched up a confidence-boosting win against Delhi and will be looking to make the most of the confidence gained from it.

For the host, this has been one of the best starts in the past few seasons, considering the way it dominated a strong side like Kerala for an outright win.

Bengal’s coach-cum-mentor Arun Lal insisted on this factor saying Bengal should aim for the full quota of points when playing at home. “We have the belief that if we play to our potential, we will win every match. We have to grab the opportunity,” Lal said.

READ: Ranji Trophy 2019-20: Dhawan, Ishant return for Delhi's clash against Hyderabad

“This Eden wicket tends to be more helpful for the seamers so we may have to adopt the horses-for-courses approach and rest one of the spinners (Shahbaz Ahmed or Arnab Nandi) in preference for a medium pacer,” the former India opener said.  Left-arm spinner Shahbaz and off-spinner Arnab were pick of the Bengal bowlers in the last match sharing 10 Kerala wickets.

Andhra, led by India campaigner Hanuma Vihari, also stressed on the importance of pacers on the Eden wicket. “They have the likes of (Ashoke) Dinda and Ishan Porel in the pace department while we have pacers like P. Vijaykumar, C. Stephen and Y. Prithvi Raj, who have shown good form. It is going to be good contest out there,” Vihari said.

The Andhra skipper remains the mainstay of the team’s batting while Ricky Bhui has been the most consistent performer in the middle order remaining unbeaten on 100 and 144 against Vidarbha (second innings) and Delhi in his team’s previous two matches.

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