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Regular-article-logo Tuesday, 28 May 2024

Bengal ‘favourites’ vs Karnataka in Ranji Trophy semi-final

Cricket is not determined by names… it’s played on the field: Arun Lal

Sayak Banerjee Calcutta Published 28.02.20, 08:45 PM
(From left) Manish Pandey, Karun Nair and KL Rahul at the Eden on Friday

(From left) Manish Pandey, Karun Nair and KL Rahul at the Eden on Friday Picture by Santosh Ghosh

KL Rahul’s relaxed and chilled out approach on Friday at the Eden not just reflected his mindset, but also that of the entire Karnataka team.

The form that Rahul is in at present, not to forget the visitors also feature the likes of Manish Pandey — who also brings in an India flavour — captain Karun Nair, R Samarth and equally efficient bowlers, Karnataka have little to worry about.

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But they face a Bengal team that’s ready to put them to the sword in this Ranji Trophy semi-final clash beginning Saturday at the Eden.

The Abhimanyu Easwaran-led side now has the zeal to prove that this is a “new Team Bengal” with individuals who will never give up without a fight.

“It could be anybody out there. It could even be Virat Kohli batting. Naam se cricket hoti nahin hai, maidan mein cricket hoti hai. (Cricket is not determined by names… It’s played on the field).

“Yes, it will be a good contest, but I think we are the favourites because we have the momentum,” coach Arun Lal asserted on Friday.

His team, though, may tweak its top order to a certain extent. Abhimanyu could move down to No. 3 with Abhishek Raman taking the other opener’s slot. In fact, that’s how they have batted during nets on Thursday and the match eve.

Young pacer Akash Deep will most likely replace Nilkantha Das, while Sudip Chatterjee might just be preferred over Arnab Nandi. Going by the greenish pitch on offer, including one more specialist batsman in the XI may be the right decision, but Nandi’s contributions as an all-rounder also cannot be ignored.

Karnataka, on the other hand, are keen on getting inputs from Rahul apart from banking on his batting prowess. “Rahul’s return is a positive sign and a big boost for Karnataka,” skipper Nair emphasised.

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