Ranji Trophy: Dominant Saurashtra aims to continue winning run against fragile Hyderabad

Only a vastly improved performance against Saurashtra should keep the home team’s hopes alive of at least staying in the Elite Group now.

Saurashtra skipper Jaydev Unadkat along with middle-order batsman Cheteshwar Pujara during a practice session.

Saurashtra skipper Jaydev Unadkat along with middle-order batsman Cheteshwar Pujara during a practice session. | Photo Credit: VIJAY SONEJI

Only a vastly improved performance against Saurashtra should keep the home team’s hopes alive of at least staying in the Elite Group now.

Table-topper Saurashtra, 19 points from four matches with two wins, takes on bottom-placed Hyderabad with one point from four matches in the Ranji Trophy Elite Group B match at Gymkhana Ground here from Tuesday.

Saurashtra, led by Jaydev Unadkat, who took a hat-trick against Delhi to start the new year on a high and helped the team score an outright win against Delhi at Rajkot, should be relishing the opportunity to bowl on a pitch which is expected to be a sporting one, helping the bowlers, especially in the morning session.

In fact, Unadkat has been the lead performer with the ball for Saurashtra this season, with 19 wickets in the Vijay Hazare Trophy title-triumph, and celebrated his recall to the Indian team with a three-wicket haul against Bangladesh.

For Saurashtra, the main scorers have been southpaw middle-order batter Arpit Vasavada (378), openers Jay Gohil (306) and Harvik Desai (305) with the likes of Prerak Mankad, Dharmendrasinh Jadeja, Chirag Jani and Sheldon Jackson always capable of toying with any attack on their day.

In bowling, Unadkat should look for support from the likes of off-spinner Yuvrajsingh Dodiya, left-arm pacer Chetan Sakariya and left-arm spinner Jadeja.

On the other hand, nothing seems to be going right for Hyderabad this season with quite a few making their Ranji Trophy debuts but failing to capitalise. Batting continues to revolve around captain Tanmay Agarwal and southpaw K. Rohit Rayudu.

Pacers T. Ravi Teja, with two five-wicket hauls this season, and Karthikeya Kak have been bowling well and in tandem but unfortunately the back-up bowlers have been disappointing.

Only a vastly improved performance against Saurashtra should keep the home team’s hopes alive of at least staying in the Elite Group.

Match starts at 9.30 am.

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