Rain may be a factor as East eye an encore in Duleep final
Chennai: Defending champions East Zone will seek to do an encore when they meet an upbeat Central Zone in Duleep Trophy cricket tournament final which is a virtual replay of last edition played in Indore.
While Central will like to take revenge after being humiliated by an innings and 20 runs in the last edition, the East Zone outfit led by Natraj Behra will like to prove the sceptics that their triumph last time was no fluke.
However, there has been a heavy downpour in the city for the past two days and if things don`t change drastically, there is a possibility of a delayed start.
It will be match where the fate of the match depends on the duel between Central Zone batsmen and East Zone bowlers.
The Central batsmen have shown the kind of batting depth they have while surpassing a commendable 451 from North Zone riding on an unbelievable 10th-wicket partnership of 100 plus runs between Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Rituraj Singh.
Their innings will certainly be a lesson for East Zone bowlers who now know that the match is not over yet unless they get the last wicket. The pitch at the Chepauk stadium is known to get slower as time progresses and one would expect that the team that wins the toss to bat first.
The key batsmen for Central will be highest run-scorer last season Robin Bist, talented Rajasthan batsman Ashok Menaria along with veteran skipper Mohammed Kaif and glovesman Mahesh Rawat.
Similarly, East has a better bowling line-up with Ashok Dinda, who has troubled almost every domestic team for the past two seasons with his pace and ability to extract movement off the pitch. Dinda, who grabbed 7/26, had South Zone batsmen running for cover during the semi-final match at Visakhapatnam.
For Dinda, who has been a fringe member of the national
side, a few good performances before the England Test series will give him an advantage over his contemporaries like Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav.
Dinda is likely to get good support from his new ball partner Basant Mohanty and all-rounder Biplab Samantray.
Among the batsmen, Saurabh Tiwary has been in good form having scored a century against South Zone. The defending champions will expect that Wriddhiman Saha and Anustup Majumdar, who played a stellar role in East's success last time will come good in the final. Skipper Natraj's half century was crucial in the final context of the match and he would like to lead from the front with a significant contribution.
There will be a bit of concern about the openers though as both Dheeraj Jadhav and Manish Vardhan have flopped in both innings in the semi-final match. In all, if weather permits, an exciting contest is on cards.