Vijay Hazare Trophy: Bengal looks to redeem itself

Bengal, the runner-up last year, takes on Maharashtra in a Group B engagement on Monday.

Bengal would have to show the belief and attitude of a winning side, admits Manoj Tiwary (in picture).   -  Prashant Nakwe

Last year's runner-up Bengal has prepared with all seriousness for its Group B engagements of the Vijay Hazare Trophy.

The loss to Tamil Nadu in the previous edition's final was not a pleasant experience. Equally disappointing were this season's Ranji Trophy semifinal loss to Delhi and the defeat to Baroda due to irresponsible batting – which affected Bengal's chances of making it to the final – in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.

“The players are mature enough to know where they have made mistakes. We have to show the belief and attitude of a winning side. And we have to be smart,” said captain Manoj Tiwary prior to Bengal's opening match against Maharashtra at the AB Vajpayee Stadium here on Monday.

Bengal, consisting of players like Sudip Chatterjee, Shreevats Goswami, Ashoke Dinda and Sayan Ghosh, reached here three days back to get used to the high altitude conditions. Even though Under-19 World Cup winner Ishan Porel was named in the Bengal squad, the pacer, who had a leg injury in New Zealand, would be doubtful to play.

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Maharashtra, which could not make an impression either in the Ranji Trophy or in the Mushtaq Ali Trophy, will try to regroup. In the absence of Kedar Jadhav, familiar names such as captain Rahul Tripathi, Anupam Sanklecha, Vijay Zol and Shrikant Mundhe form the core of the side.

In-form Delhi

Mushtaq Ali Trophy champion Delhi will be eager to expand its dominance to the one-dayers. The Pradeep Sangwan-led side, which has solid bench because of the Under-23 players' fine performance, will be keen to showcase its expertise in another shorter format.

Players like Rishabh Pant, Dhruv Shorey, Nitish Rana, Navdeep Saini, Kulwant Khejroliya, and Lalit Yadav have done well in the past and will look forward to replicate that. Delhi will miss Gautam Gambhir, who pulled out due to an ankle injury. Ishant Sharma will be available after the first two matches.

Without Suresh Raina, Uttar Pradesh has a side studded with some dashing players including captain Akshdeep Nath, Rinku Singh and Saurabh Kumar. It remains to be seen when Under-19 World Cuppers such as Shivam Mavi and Aryan Juyal will be able join the team. After its good showing in Ranji Trophy, the Sachin Baby-captained Kerala could not rise to the expectation in the T20s. After a 15-day camp in Chennai, the team wants to build its reputation.

Tripura and Himachal Pradesh will also be in the fray to secure berths in quarterfinals.

Monday's Group B matches
  • At Amtar: Bengal vs Maharashtra
  • At Bilaspur: Delhi vs Uttar Pradesh
  • At Dharamshala: Himachal vs Tripura.