New Delhi: The second round of the 2012-13 Ranji Trophy season gets underway across the country on Friday, after an engaging first round of matches in which there were five outright wins and gripping, hard-fought draws at Indore and Nadaun. Round two sees three additional teams open their campaigns – Goa, Maharashtra and Saurashtra.
Here’s a look at the Group B matches starting November 9.
Maharashtra v Uttar Pradesh at Pune: Maharashtra begin their campaign on a tough note as they host group leaders Uttar Pradesh, who are coming off a six-wicket win over Delhi. The hosts, who reached the 2011-12 Ranji Trophy quarter-finals, can claim a good batting line-up featuring Harshad Khadiwale, Chirag Khurana, Sangram Atitkar and Ankit Bawne. Much of the success last season depended on these names, and against a fine bowling attack these batsmen will have to be consistent and watchful. Leading Maharashtra’s attack will be Samad Fallah but the brunt of the work will have to be done by left-arm spinner Akshay Darekar, whose performance was a major part of Maharashtra's journey to the quarter-finals last season.
UP, led by Suresh Raina now that he is not a part of India’s Test team, are the superior side. Young Mukul Dagar hit a stroke-filled century in a big stand with Mohammad Kaif that paved the way for victory over Delhi. The platform for victory was provided by medium-pacer Imtiaz Ahmed whose five-wicket haul helped keep Delhi to 235 on day one; he followed that with four in the second. Praveen Kumar and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar contributed with three and five wickets respectively, and Praveen also hit a brisk half-century as UP took the first-innings lead. Raina wil be out to score heavily in a bid to stake his place for a Test recall.
Maharashtra: Rohit Motwani (capt/wk), Ankit Bawne, Sangram Dilip Atitkar, Chirag Khurana, Virag Awate, Sachin Chaudhari, Akshay Darekar, Domnic Joseph, Samad Fallah, Kedar Jadhav, Harshad Khadiwale, Shrikant Mundhe, Nikhil Paradkar, Anupam Sanklecha, Deepak Shilamkar
Uttar Pradesh: Suresh Raina (capt), Eklavya Dwivedi, Imtiyaz Ahmed, Arish Alam, Amir Khan (wk), Amit Singh, Piyush Chawla, Mukul Dagar, Mohammad Kaif, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Praveen Kumar, Ali Murtaza, Parvinder Singh, Tanmay Srivastava, Sudeep Tyagi
Baroda v Vidharba at Vadodara: At home for their second straight match, Baroda will be without Irfan Pathan, who injured a knee in the draw against Karnataka, in their match with table-toppers Vidharbha. Irfan rescued Baroda from 88 for 4 in the first innings with a century that got them three first-innings points. The hosts are already with the services of fast bowler Munaf Patel, with an injured knee. The form of their captain, Yusuf Pathan, is a bit of a concern after the allrounder registered 24 and 0 against Karnataka.
Vidharba, who posted an outright win over Haryana to top Group B, will be understandably buoyant yet at the same time understand that Baroda will offer more of a fight. Without Umesh, who will be taking the new ball for India against England, the team loses their spearhead. Their batting was under-par in Lahli but did not need to be after Umesh Yadav and Sandeep Singh skittled the home team for 55 in the first innings. In the second-innings chase of 37 Vidharba lost two wickets to miss out on an extra point, and in the first innings the last-wicket pair was needed to get the total past 200. Sairaj Bahutule’s team cannot afford to be so poor against Baroda.
Baroda: Yusuf Pathan (captain), Ambati Rayudu, Utkarsh Patel, Firdaush Bhaja, Bharghav Bhatt, Abhimanyu Chauhan, Kedar Devdhar, Gagandeep Singh, Sagar Mangalorkar, Ketan Panchal, Pinal Shah (wk), Rakesh Solanki, Sankalp Vohra, Aditya Waghmore
Vidarbha: Sairaj Bahutule (captain), Ranjit Paradkar, Hemang Badani, Aniruddha Chore (wk), Shiv Sunder Das, Faiz Fazal, Amol Jungade, Urvesh Patel, Sumit Ruikar, Shalabh Shrivastava, Sandeep Singh, Gaurav Upadhyaya, Shrikant Wagh, Apoorv Wankhada
Tamil Nadu v Karnataka at Chennai: The battle of the southern states heats up with the two main opponents set to resume their storied rivalry at the MA Chidambaram Stadium. Tamil Nadu are in need of batting practice having been reduced to twiddling their thumbs in soggy Cuttack where only 33.1 overs were possible due to rain. In that time, TN lost the key top-order trio of Abhinav Mukund, Murali Vijay and S Badrinath for cheap scores. Vikay is in India’s Test squad and that denies the hosts an opener; Mukund and Badrinath will now be required to score heavily and Dinesh Karthik will have to sharp too.
Karnataka’s draw in Vadodara gave them one point. Their batting was overall not too impressive, as only Robin Uthappa (82, 43), KB Pawan (56, 39*) and allrounder Stuart Binny made an impact. In the first innings the rest of the batsmen failed to allow Baroda take the lead, and much more will be expected from Manish Pandey and Amit Verma against a bowling attack led by L Balaji.
Tamil Nadu: L Balaji (captain), Jagannathan Kaushik, Baba Aparajith, Arun Karthik, Murugan Ashwin, Aushik Srinivas, S Badrinath, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Yo Mahesh, M Mohammad, Abhinav Mukund, Ramaswamy Prasanna, Ravi Kumar Rohith, Kuthethurshri Vasudevadas
Karnataka: Vinay Kumar (captain), Amit Verma, KP Appanna, Stuart Binny, Ganesh Satish, Muralidharen Gautam (wk), Kunal Kapoor, Abhimanyu Mithun, Syed Khaja Moinuddin, Ronit More, Manish Pandey, KB Pawan, Lokesh Rahul, Sunil Raju, Robin Uthappa
For a preview of Delhi’s home game against Odisha, click here.