The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Keen contest on the cards

Siliguri: Defending champions Railways have their task cut out as they take on hosts Bengal in a crucial four-day elite group match of the Ranji Trophy at the Kanchenjunga Stadium here Wednesday.

After their splendid showing in the Irani Trophy early this month, Railways found the going tough in their opening Ranji tie against Delhi as they barely managed to avoid a defeat at the Ferozshah Kotla.

The railwaymen, however, showed signs of recovery as they managed to earn one point in their second outing against Rajasthan on the basis of their first innings lead.

Bengal, who have drawn a blank in their two matches so far against Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh, would be going flat out to take advantage of playing on home soil.

Bengal coach Sambaran Banerjee said that his team had already worked on the mistakes committed in the last two encounters and would try to gain full points from this match.

Bengal are likely to effect one change from the team that played the last two matches. Allrounder Sanjib Sanyal is likely to make way for Moyanka Chakraborty.

Sambaran had stressed on the need for a specialist batsman at No. 6 and Moyanka’s inclusion will serve the purpose. This will mean Bengal going into the match with a three-man pace attack and two-pronged spin combination.

The focus will be on Ranadeb Bose, who had a ten-wicket match haul in the previous game against Himachal Pradesh. The disciplined line along with the ability to move the ball both ways have been Ranadeb’s forte.

Railways coach Vinod Sharma conceded that though his team was strengthened with the inclusion of allrounder Jai Prakash Yadav, it would still be difficult to beat Bengal in their own backyard.

Railways, however, would be missing the services of Sanjay Bangar and Murali Kartik, who have been included in the New Zealand-bound Indian squad.

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