Bengal looking for outright win against Baroda in Ranji tie
Vadodara: Bengal would be eyeing nothing less than an outright win while Baroda need only first innings lead in their final Group B Ranji Trophy Elite Division match here tomorrow to secure their place in the quarterfinal stage of the tournament.
Baroda, with 13 points from five matches, could find themselves in a spot of bother if they fail to earn first innings lead against the visitors at the Motibag Ground.
Anything less, and their berth could come under threat from Haryana, Gujarat or Bengal.
The hosts will be drawn against a plate team if they make it to the last-eight stage.
On the other hand, bolstered by the arrival of skipper Sourav Ganguly, Bengal need to beat Baroda outrightly to stay in the race for a place in the knockout stage.
Bengal`s fate will also depend upon the outcome of Gujarat-Haryana fixture, and the visitors would be hoping for a draw in Surat to have a shot at the final eight.
Bengal, with eight points from five matches, need full six points from their final game to avoid relegation to the plate league next year.
The Ganguly-led side require a strong result against Baroda in order to stay clear of relegation.
The Bengal team, minus Ganguly, had reached the city two days in advance to acclimatise itself to the conditions.
Bengal would be looking for a good show from their in-form batsmen Ganguly, Manoj Tiwari and Shreevats Goswami while their bowling department too holds depth with medium pacer Ashok Dinda claiming six wickets in their last drawn match against Delhi.
Spinner Iresh Saxena and right-arm medium Shami Ahmed too have found themselves among wickets for Bengal this season.
Meanwhile, Baroda`s position has strengthened after the return of medium-pacer Irfan Pathan, who has picked up 21 wickets so far in this Ranji season.
In-form batsman Ambati Rayudu, who struck a century against Gujarat in their last match which Baroda won by 241 runs, has been named vice captain of the side for the upcoming fixture.
Baroda would also be hoping for a good show from spinner Bhargav Bhatt and medium pacers Firdaush Bhaja and Sankalp Vohra.