Chennai: Tamil Nadu skipper Lakshmipathy Balaji struck a note of confidence as he felt he has the team to win the Ranji Trophy final against holders Rajasthan in the five-day game beginning in Chennai on Thursday.
At a pre-match media conference on Wednesday, Balaji opined that the pitch at the Chepauk would assist both bowlers and batsmen, and pointed out that unlike in the past, he could count on more than just one individual to win the game.
"It is a good 50-50 wicket and will help both batsmen and bowlers. I expect the match to be a good and challenging contest."
"Since our bowlers have performed well to share the wickets in all matches during this season, it is within our reach to take 20 wickets in the match," said Balaji, whose team is seeking its third Ranji title triumph.
Virtually echoing Balaji's views, Rajasthan captain Hrishikesh Kanitkar said he expected the pitch to assist spinners in the latter half of the game. He admitted that Tamil Nadu would be enjoying the advantage of playing on their home ground.
"The wicket seems to be good and as the match progresses, the spinners also will have a say. Tamil Nadu are a formidable team and in our meeting last time, they played better than us even though we posted 500-plus runs on board. But this time around, they have the home advantage," said Kanitkar.
The Rajasthan captain singled out young top-order batsman Robin Bist and seamer Rituraj Singh for special praise in view of their strong performances this season.
"Youngsters in my team have come up very well. Rituraj has been phenomenal this season. He has the ability to move the ball both ways with necessary pace," Kanitkar said.
"Robin Bist has been the top run-getter. We are not looking at individual performances, but we will continue working as a team," he said.