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Hosts wary of northern foes

On paper, Karnataka are the fancied side in their Ranji quarterfinal against Haryana, playing at home and having a strong batting line-up led by the aggressive Robin Uthappa. Khurram Habib reports.

cricket Updated: Jan 02, 2012 00:15 IST
Khurram Habib

On paper, Karnataka are the fancied side in their Ranji quarterfinal against Haryana, playing at home and having a strong batting line-up led by the aggressive Robin Uthappa.

But Haryana’s consistency nags everyone, including Karnataka coach K Jeshwanth. “If this is their third successive quarterfinal appearance, then we better beware,” he said.

With the North Zone powerhouses, Punjab and Delhi, not making it to the quarters in the last two seasons, Haryana are the sole zonal team in the knockout.

But the consistency isn’t fluke. With no big names in the line-up barring skipper Amit Mishra, Haryana players form a close unit. The pick of their batsmen have been Nitin Saini, Sunny Singh and Rahul Dewan while Ashish Hooda has led the bowling.

But Karnataka possess the arsenal. Although seamers R Vinay Kumar and Abhimanyu Mithun are in the India squad Down Under, recalled pacemen NC Aiyappa and SL Akshay form a potent attack.