Karnataka aim to get campaign on track
Vinay Kumarís men take on depleted Tamil Nadu
Karnataka will fancy their chances against a somewhat depleted Tamil Nadu outfit when the traditional rivals lock horns in their Group ‘B’ Ranji Trophy match at the MA Chidambaram stadium from Friday.
Tamil Nadu maintain an advantage in terms of the number of times (17) they have defeated Karnataka in the 68 times they have run into each other in the four-day tournament. But without star players R Ashwin and Murali Vijay, who are on national duty for the crucial series against England, and a washed out opening encounter against Orissa earlier this week, the hosts will need to bring their A-game to the table overcome a well-knit Karnataka unit.
Though Vinay Kumar and company were far from convincing in their opener against Baroda, the visitors, who have got the better of TN on 15 occasions, would like to believe that they have everything required to push for an outright win against Laxmipathi Balaji’s men.
Their seam combination of Vinay -- who needs a mere seven runs to become only the seventh player from Karnataka to score 1000 runs and bag 100 wickets in Ranji Trophy -- Abhimanyu Mithun and Stuart Binny were impressive at various stages against Baroda while KP Appanna’s form was encouraging.
Even if the opening encounter did little to Karnataka’s confidence as they handed the innings lead and three points to Baroda, there were plenty of positives coming into this match.
Binny’s all-round form is something the team management will be very happy with. The 28-year-old scalped seven wickets for the match and scored a half-century in his only stint with the bat. The all-rounder’s confidence and ability to come up with long spells with both the bat and ball will be ideal given the hot and humid conditions at the Chepauk.
While there are many plusses to be identified from Karnataka’s previous match and their preparation in the run up to the Ranji Trophy (winners of Safi Darashah Trophy and Buchi Babu Trophy), there are still some chinks they would need to address against opponents as dangerous as Tamil Nadu.
Karnataka, packed with young legs and strong shoulders are regarded as one of the better fielding sides in the tournament, dropped a few catches that proved costly. A repeat of such mistakes against TN, who will bank on their batting prowess to come through, would cost them dear.
Also, batting coach J Arun Kumar would have done some tough talking after the manner in which the batsmen threw their wickets away from a command situation against Baroda. Needless strokes and inopportune times saw them suffer a dramatic collapse, eventually surrendering the advantage to the hosts in Vadodara. †
Both the sides come into this game with certain issues, and with no rain predicted for some days, they will go into this clash expecting to sort them out over the course of four days.
The teams (from):
Tamil Nadu: Lakshmipathi Balaji (capt), Abhinav Mukund, K Vasudevadas, S Badrinath, Baba Aparajith, Dinesh Kaarthick, R Prasanna, Arun Karthik, Aushik Srinivas, Yo Mahesh, J Kaushik, M Rangarajan, M Mohammed, Murugan Ashwin.
Karnataka: R Vinay Kumar (cap), Robin Uthappa, KB Pawan, Ganesh Satish, Manish Pandey, Amit Verma, Stuart Binny, CM Gautam (wk), Sunil N Raju, Abhimanyu Mithun, KP Appanna, Kunal Kapoor, KL Rahul, Ronit More, SK Moinuddin.
Umpires: Paschim Pathak and K Hariharan. Third umpire: Sanjay Hazare. Match referee: Sunil Chaturvedi.
Match hours: 0930-1200 hours; 1240-1440 hours; 1500-close of play.