Karnataka in search of their maiden win

Defending champions clash with Sehwag-led Haryana

Karnataka in search of their maiden win

Amidst the vibrant atmosphere generated from the Dasara festivities in the city, the SDNRW Stadium is all set to welcome one of India’s most celebrated cricketers – Virender Sehwag.

The dashing opener, who bid adieu to international cricket and IPL on Tuesday, following a glorious career, will be seen leading Haryana in their Group ‘A’ Ranji Trophy encounter against the defending champions Karnataka here from Thursday.

The 37-year old Delhi batsman, who shifted allegiance to Haryana this season, did not hit the nets on Wednesday morning but the team management confirmed that Sehwag will be joining the side late evening. 

After sending a shock to all his die-hard fans across the world with his retirement, Sehwag is expected to draw a good response from Mysureans who would want to see their star batsman play from close quarters before he hangs up his boots from all forms of the game.

Haryana, who are rooted at the bottom of the table with just one point from two games, face a strong side in hosts Karnataka.

The Vinay Kumar-led team got off to a slow start to their title defence, with three draws from as many matches fetching them seven points. For a team accustomed to success on a regular basis from the past two years, an outright victory could prove to be the perfect trigger to dominate their upcoming group stage assignments and Karnataka would be eyeing nothing less than six points from this match.

The hosts’ batsmen seem to be in supreme touch and against Haryana, they would look drive home the advantage of having a well accomplished batting order. Karun Nair and R Samarth have slammed two centuries already in the season, while Manish Pandey is back amongst runs, following his return from an injury. Under the scanner to perform, Robin Uthappa showed glimpses of his potential with a well-made half century against Vidarbha in Bengaluru last week. Comeback man KL Rahul will be eyeing a big one while CM Gautam’s rough patch at the lower-order is a minor concern in an otherwise strong batting rank.

The Bengaluru surface gave little assistance to pace bowling but the wicket here has a good amount of grass on it, a promising sign for an yet-to fire Karnataka pace attack. With S Arvind  joining the India ODI squad, HS Sharath will most likely replace the left-arm seamer.

The hosts might either field four pacers or go in with the combination of three pacers and two spinners.

Left-arm spinner J Suchith has impressed in his short stint and the local boy would look to reap benefits in familiar conditions and form a spin combination with leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal.

The visitors are coming into the tie on the back of a four-wicket defeat to Delhi. Sehwag’s good run with the bat will infuse great confidence in younger batsmen like Himanshu Rana while the bowling department will be led by medium pacer Harshal Patel and off-spinner Jayant Yadav.

The squads (from): Karnataka: R Vinay Kumar (captain), CM Gautam (vice-captain and wicketkeeper), Robin Uthappa, Mayank Agarwal, Shishir Bhavane, Manish Pandey, Karun Nair, J Suchith, Shreyas Gopal, SL Akshay, Abhimanyu Mithun, HS Sharath, R Samarth, KL Rahul, Udit Patel, David Mathias and SL Akshay.

Haryana: Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dewan, Chaitanya Bishnoi, Sachin Rana, Himanshu Rana, Rahul Dagar, Nithin Seni, Harshal Patel, Ashish Hooda, Jayant Yadav, Sanjay Tehal, Rahul Dalal, Priyank Tehlam, Yuzuvendra Chahal, Sanjay Badwar.

Match referee: Sunil Chaturvedi.

Umpires: Paschim Pathak and Dandekar A Yashwant.

Hours of play: 9.30 am to 12 noon; 12.40 pm to 2.40 pm; 3.00 pm till end of play.

Ranji fixtures
*Group A: Karnataka vs Haryana; Delhi vs Bengal; Rajasthan vs Maharashtra; Vidarbha vs Assam.
*Group B: Andhra vs Uttar Pradesh; Baroda vs Mumbai; Punjab vs Madhya Pradesh; Railways vs Gujarat.
*Group C: Himachal Pradesh vs Goa; Saurashatra vs Hyderabad; Services vs Kerala; Tripura vs Jammu & Kashmir.

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