New Delhi: It will be a battle between two immensely talented but currently out-of-favour left-arm swing bowlers as Ashish Nehra and Irfan Pathan square off when hosts Delhi take on Baroda in a fourth-round Ranji Trophy Elite Group encounter at the Feroz Shah Kotla on Tuesday.
On paper, Baroda are favourites as they now top Group B with eight points from three matches while Delhi have had an unimpressive run so far with only four points from three matches, including an innings defeat against Gujarat.
With Nehra and Pathan on either sides, the batsmen may have to answer a few probing questions on a strip that has a reputation of being dodgy at times for its two-paced nature.
Baroda's Irfan Pathan and Delhi's Ashish Nehra have not found favour with Indian selectors for some time. (Getty Images)
For Delhi, the problem area is their batting which has only done well in patches. India colts skipper Unmukt Chand has got starts but his impetouosity has brought about his downfall.
Skipper Mithun Manhas has scored a century but consistency has also been his undoing. The likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Milind Kumar and Yogesh Nagar need to score heavily if Delhi feels that they have any chance of qualifying for the knock-out stages.
Ahead of the match, there was mixed news for Delhi camp.
While senior-pro Rajat Bhatia, having recovered from his bruised palm, will be making a comeback in place of Pawan Negi, third seamer Pradeep Sangwan has been ruled out with a hip injury. In all likelihood, Sunny Sherawat will replace Sangwan in the playing XI.
The Baroda side have also got their fair share of injury problems with Yusuf Pathan being ruled out due to a serious knee injury. Although Yusuf has done precious little this season with a highest score of 23, Baroda will certainly miss an impact player like him who can change the course of the match with his clean hitting.
The batting will depend a lot on their only pro Ambati Rayudu, who has been in fine form until now. The bulk of the burden as far as bowling is concerned will be shouldered by Irfan who seemed to have got his swing back.