Rajkot: Bengal captain Manoj Tiwary and his boys will go for the kill against a depleted and relegation-threatened Saurashtra side as they square off for a sixth round Ranji Trophy encounter at the newly built Kandheri Stadium in Rajkot from on Wednesday.
While Bengal with nine points from five matches will realistically get a last chance to make it to the knock-out stages of the competition, Saurashtra will desperate to beat the drop after having garnered only four points from five outings.
Bengal captain Manoj Tiwary who had a look at the strip termed it as a good batting wicket which might offer slow turn during the later part of the match.
“The ball is likely to come onto the bat nicely. One can expect good carry. However we haven’t yet decided whether we will go in with an extra spinner or play a third seamer. As far as the batting line-up is concerned, Shreevats Goswami straightaway comes in place of Gitimoy Basu while Writam Porel will play in place of Sourav Ganguly,” Manoj informed on the eve of the match.
Bengal will certainly be favourites going into the match as Saurashtra are without the services of their three international stars Cheteshwar Pujara, Jaidev Unadkat and Ravindra Jadeja.
While Pujara and Unadkat are off to South Africa, Jadeja is with the Indian ODI team.
“A player of Pujara’s calibre could have obviously made a difference but that doesn’t mean that we can take Saurashtra side lightly. To enforce a favourable result, we will have to play four days of good cricket,” Tiwary added.
Rajkot pitches over the years has been of placid nature where teams have failed to enforce outright result but Tiwary reckons that the hosts will only offer a result oriented pitch as they themselves are in big trouble.
In the absence of Pujara, Saurashtra’s batting responsibility will rest on seasoned Sitanshu Kotak, Sagar Jogiyani, Pratik Mehta and skipper Jaydev Shah. Jayesh Odedara and Balkrishna Jadeja will operate the new ball and will be supported by spinner Kamlesh Makwana.