After notching up a thrilling 26-run win over Tamil Nadu in its Ranji Trophy opener at Dindigul, Karnataka will enter the field against Uttar Pradesh here Tuesday full of confidence. The host, however, must deal with the absence of star performer K. Gowtham.
Gowtham, who scored a fifty and picked up 14 wickets in a memorable Dindigul outing, will miss the action due to a hairline fracture on his foot. Gowtham’s spot in the eleven will be filled by either J. Suchith or Pravin Dubey, with Shreyas Gopal completing the spin attack.
Karnataka will also be without the services of opener Mayank Agarwal, who replaced the injured Shikhar Dhawan in the Indian ODI side. K.L. Rahul and Manish Pandey are away with the Indian ODI team as well.
Fast bowler A. Mithun, who was out with a back spasm, is fit and set to return to action.
“It will be difficult without Gowtham. But it gives guys like Dubey and Suchith an opportunity to give their best and get us the win. It is a chance for someone else to become a hero,” vice-captain Gopal said here on Monday.
The win over Tamil Nadu has kept the players in good spirits. “The win over Tamil Nadu has given us confidence. We won the crucial moments; now we know what to do in close games,” Gopal added.
One cause for concern is the form of skipper Karun Nair, who struggled for runs in the Vijay Hazare Trophy and Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. The middle-order batsman did not have the best of starts to the Ranji Trophy campaign either, making 8 and 5 at Dindigul.
Uttar Pradesh, meanwhile, will look to turn things around after a disappointing show against Railways. A sub-par total of 175 saw Uttar Pradesh concede the first-innings lead in a drawn match. With batting mainstay Priyam Garg skippering the Indian team for the Under-19 World Cup, the state leadership mantle falls on pacer Ankit Rajpoot.
If Karnataka manages to post a win over Uttar Pradesh here, it will become only the second team to record 200 wins in the Ranji Trophy. Mumbai (241 wins) leads the way on this count.
The match will be telecast live on Star Sports network from 8.45 am onwards.
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