With the Ranji season gradually reaching the halfway mark, the countdown to the semifinals will begin soon. A win at this stage would put a team in a better position to stake a claim to the last-four berth.
In that light, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, who will lock horns at the Dr Akhilesh Das Stadium, will look to collect maximum points from this encounter. Delhi, playing their third game of the season, have four points and are yet to register an outright win. UP, on the other hand, have six points from three games.
As for the upcoming encounter, UP have an edge over Delhi in terms of a strong bench strength, so much so that they are facing a problem of plenty. The in-form Shalabh Srivastava had to make way for players returning from the national duty in the last game, and he’s unlikely to make the cut here as well. Praveen Kumar, who had to sit out in the last game due to a finger injury, would, however, be raring to go. “PK (Praveen Kumar) is fit, but we will take a final decision on him tomorrow morning,” said UP coach Gyanendra Pandey.
UP, however, have some concerns in batting department. Opener Tanmay Srivastav is yet to get going, and skipper Mohammad Kaif and middle-order batsman Suresh Raina were less than impressive in their last outing.
Delhi, on the other hand, would look to have a good start from their openers. While Dhawan has been in good nick, skipper Chopra would look to get a big one here. Overall, the Delhi batting looks far more robust with the return of Mithun Manhas, who was out with injury, and Virat Kohli, who was away on national duty.
The bowling department too looks strong with Pradeep Sangwan, who missed the last match as he was picked for the Board President XI, spearheading the pace attack. Left-arm spinner Vikas Mishra, a new face in the squad, will add teeth to the spin department.
The wicket, observed the UP coach, looks a sporting one that will offer a good contest between bat and ball.