Ranji Trophy: Delhi looks to grab top spot

It is obvious that Rishabh Pant-led Delhi will be high on confidence with 24 points from five games while Hyderabad is low on motivation (15 points from five matches), with the team already out of contention.

Rishab Pant Ranji Trophy Delhi Hyderabad

Delhi skipper Rishab Pant will hope to come good against Hyderabad.   -  V. V. Subrahmanyam

Delhi has already qualified for the knock-out phase and its coach K.P. Bhaskar is now targetting to finish off the league at the top of the points table with an outright win when it takes on Hyderabad on Saturday.

It is obvious that Rishabh Pant-led Delhi will be high on confidence with 24 points from five games while the home team is low on motivation (15 points from five matches), with it already out of contention.

Both the teams had full-length training sessions while Delhi’s star batsman Gautam Gambhir was expected to join the team in the evening on Friday.

Like a true pro, Bhaskar reminds that any first-class game is there to be won and that Delhi is keen to give some youngsters, who have been part of the 15-member squad so far, a chance in the playing eleven.

“To enter the knock-out phase with an outright win is always a better feeling,” the Delhi coach said.

The teams (from):

Delhi: Rishabh Pant (capt), Gautam Gambhir, Unmukt Chand, Shivam Sharma, Milind Kumar, Aditya Kaushik, Manan Sharma, Dhruv Shorey, Himmat Singh, Akash Sudan, Vikas Tokas, Lalit Yadav, Kulwant Khejruliya, Kunal Chandela and Vikas Mishra. Coach: K.P. Bhaskar.

Hyderabad: K. Sumanth (capt), P. Akshath Reddy, Tanmay Agarwal, K. Rohith Rayudu, B. Sandeep, Akash Bhandari, T. Ravi Teja, M. Ravi Kiran, Mohd Mudassar Hussain, Pragyan Ojha, Mehdi Hasan, Saket Sai Ram, Sudeep Tyagi, K.S.K. Chaitanya (wk), Himalay Agarwal and T. Sukanth (Warangal). Coach: J. Arun Kumar.

Hyderabad think-tank is also expected to give some young talent a chance in what is an inconsequential game for it.

Captain Ambati Rayudu has opted for a break. Wicketkeeper-batsman K. Sumanth will lead the side with the lanky Ravi Kiran spearheading the pace attack. Meanwhile, the spin department will be in the hands of leggie Akash Bhandari and left-armers Mehdi Hasan and Pragyan Ojha.

For Sumanth, it will be a huge challenge to spur Hyderabad to step into a different zone in such a game.

Interestingly, Delhi has qualified for the knock-out phase with only two batsmen, southpaw Nitish Rana (466 runs) and Gambhir (371), being the lead performers. Pant is expected to lead by example while the exciting Unmukt Chand should come good.

In a way, it has been the Delhi bowling which has rose to the occasion and it will be interesting to see how the bowling unit copes in the absence of star performer Ishant Sharma (on national duty). Two left-arm spinners Vikas Mishra (15 wickets from three games) and Manan Sharma (18 wickets from five games) have proved to be more than handy for Delhi so far.

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