Ranji Trophy: Bengal hopes to continue its good run

Bengal looks better placed to get the bigger share of points against Railways ahead of its Ranji Trophy league match beginning here on Thursday.

Bengal captain Manoj Tewary will be hoping to impress the selectors.   -  Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

Bengal looks better placed to get the bigger share of points against Railways ahead of its Ranji Trophy league match beginning here on Thursday.

So far in the season, Bengal has ticked most of the boxes and appears ready for the challenges ahead. Its batting has looked reliable and the bowling, effective.

In the drawn opener against Uttar Pradesh, Bengal’s opener Abhimanyu Easwaran hit centuries in both innings as his team collected three points. In the next, against Punjab, Bengal’s other opener Sayan Mondal scored a century as the team pulled off a 115-run victory.

As a result, Manoj Tewary-led Bengal is currently tied for the second spot with Gujarat at nine points from two matches in Group ‘A’, headed by Mumbai at 13.

Railways, led by another discard Karn Sharma, following an impressive show in the drawn encounter against Punjab, lost two matches in succession to remain on three points and holds the eighth position in the nine-team Group ‘A’.

Against Tamil Nadu and Gujarat, Railways did well to restrict the opposition in the first innings but failed to cash in on the situation. It did take the first innings lead but thereafter, it was blown away by Tamil Nadu.

Even against Gujarat, Railways batted poorly in both innings and tossed away the advantage of restricting the opposition to a sub-200 total on the opening day.

These teams face-off at the picturesque HPCA Stadium with an upbeat Bengal looking to prolong Railway’s agony. Bengal’s pace attack can prove more than a handful against the struggling lot from Railways.

New-ball bowlers Ashok Dinda and Amit Kulia or Sayan Ghosh have all been among the wickets. Left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha came good gainst Punjab in the second innings to prove his utility.

Railways will have to concentrate on batting better. The bowlers, looking good in the first innings and ordinary in the second, for two matches in succession, have not helped the team’s cause either.

Unless Railways finds a way to deal with the Bengal bowling, the course of the match will be easy to predict.

The teams:

Bengal : Manoj Tewary (captain) Abhimanyu Easwaran, Sayan Mondal, Sudip Chatterjee, Agniv Pan, Manoj Tewary, Pankaj Shaw, Pragyan Ojha, Shreevats Goswami, Ayan Bhattacharya, Ashok Dinda, Amit Kuila, Writtick Chatterjee, Aamir Gani, Ishan Porel and Prosenjit Das and Veer Pratap Singh.

Railways: Karn Sharma (captain), Saurabh Waksakar, Shivakant Shukla, Mrunal Devdhar, Nikhil Doru, Arindam Ghosh, Mahesh Rawat, Akshat Pandey, Deepak Bansal, Ranjit Mali, Anureet Singh, Ashish Yadav, V. Cheluvaraj, Gaurav Khatri and Manjeet Singh.

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