It’s never easy for teams with a settled look to lose key players before a crucial match. It becomes even more difficult for a team, desperate for a win, to lose a key player to injury.
Delhi and Baroda find themselves in a similar situation on the eve of their Ranji Trophy Elite Group ‘B’ match at the Ferozshah Kotla.
Key faces missing
While Baroda will miss all-rounder Yusuf Pathan, who suffered a hairline fracture in his knee in the last match against Haryana, Delhi lost medium-pacer Pradeep Sangwan after he complained of stiffness in the lower abdomen during practice on Monday.
Delhi have named 17-year-old medium-pacer Sunny Sehrawat as Sangwan’s replacement, and the former is expected to make his debut.
Abhijit Karambelkar, just a game old, is the replacement for Yusuf.
Man-to-man, both sides are evenly matched but the visitors are in a healthier state.They occupy the top spot in the group with eight points from three games. Delhi are fifth with four points and have only Madhya Pradesh below them.
Delhi have the skill in their ranks to ensure a passage to the knockout stage. In skipper Mithun Manhas, Shikhar Dhawan, they have the experience in batting, while war horse Ashish Nehra will shoulder the burden with Parwinder Awana in bowling.
The side will be bolstered by the return of veteran all-rounder Rajat Bhatia, who missed the last game against Tamil Nadu after suffering a cut on the palm.
Baroda will be banking on the experience of middle-order batsman Ambati Rayadu, who played a match-saving innings (83*) against Haryana, and Irfan Pathan, who is the second-highest wicket-taker this season with 15 scalps.
Captain Pinal Shah, while not wanting to sound complacent, said they were not concerned about the past.
“We’ve had a good start to the season but lost points against Haryana. That’s behind us and our focus is on this game,” he told Hindustan Times after Monday’s practice session on the eve of the encounter.
The wicket wore a tinge of green as the home team has demanded grass on the turf. Manhas, however, didn’t sound too excited."In the last game too, the scenario was similar but it didn’t behave to our expectations," said the Delhi skipper.