Under-pressure Hyderabad faces Assam in must-win game

Hyderabad requires to win its upcoming Ranji Trophy match against Assam in Guwahati to be in contention for the next phase of the championship.

Pragyan Ojha (left) and Ambati Rayudu (third from right) share a light moment during training in Guwahati.   -  V. V. Subrahmanyam

Hyderabad’s campaign for a berth in the knockout stage of the Ranji Trophy enters its decisive phase when it takes on Assam in a must-win Group-A league match at the Barsapara Stadium here from Friday.

Its first two matches at home were abandoned due to heavy rains and and its third resulted in a defeat, to Karnataka. After its subsequent win over Railways, it finds itself on nine points from four games. The team has to win this game, too, to be in the contention for the next phase of the championship. Its last match is against Delhi at home.

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Hyderabad starts favourite against Assam, which is struggling to put up a challenge in the season. It has just two points from four games - including two defeats - so far.

Siraj, Milind to miss out

Recently capped India fast bowler Mohd. Siraj will miss this match as he is currently undergoing rehab at the National Cricket Academy. With left-arm pacer Chama Milind also missing out - also due to a rehab programme - the pace attack will be led by the nippy Ravi Kiran and T. Ravi Teja, with Md. Mudassir Hussain or Sudeep Tyagi sharing the new ball.

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The spin department will be handled by left-armers Pragyan Ojha and Mehdi Hasan and leggie Akash Bhandari, who will lend variety. However, it is doubtful whether both will play given the seamer-friendly conditions.

‘No choice’

In batting, openers Akshath Reddy and Tanmay Agarwal are expected to rise to the occasion again followed by the consistent southpaw B. Sandeep, Ambati camptain Rayudu, young Rohith Rayudu, all-rounder Ashish Reddy and wicket-keeper K. Sumanth. It’s a line-up capable of posting a winning total.

“There is no choice. We have to win here. The boys are confident and competent to pull off an outright win. All we hope [for] is a full game,” says Hyderabad coach J. Arun Kumar.

Assam may it find extremely difficult unless some of the familiar names - captain Gokul Sharma, Shibsankar Roy and Rishav Das - come good with the bat. In the bowling department, a lot depends on pacer Abu Nechim - the lead wicket-taker for Assam with 12 scalps this season - and it will be interesting to see how other pacers like Rajjakuddin Ahmed, Krishna Das, and Arup Das respond to the occasion if given the chance.

The teams (from)

 

Hyderabad: Ambati Rayudu (c), K. Sumanth (wk), P. Akshat Reddy, Tanmay Agarwal, B. Sandeep, A. Ashish Reddy, Pragyan Ojha, Mehdi Hasan, M. Ravi Kiran, T. Ravi Teja, Akash Bhandari, Saketh Sairam, Rohit Rayudu, Mohd Mudassir Hussain and Sudeep Tyagi.

Assam: Gokul Sharma (c), S. S. Roy, Amit Sinha, Arup Das, Pritam Das, Mrinmoy Dutta, Pallav Kumar Das, Rajjakuddin Ahmed, Rajat Khan, Abhishek Thakuri, Pritam Devnath, Sanju Bhana, Rishab Das, Wasiqur Rehman (wk), Ritu Pant Patwari and Rahul Singh.

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