Determined Karnataka eyeing victory

Determined Karnataka eyeing victory

A determined Karnataka will be eyeing nothing less than a victory against a struggling Railways team as they look to intensify their push for a quarterfinal berth in the Ranji Trophy.

In Group A&B combined, Karnataka are lying eighth with 15 points while Railways are perched way below in 16th place with just seven points. The good thing for a rebuilding Karnataka, who could have registered their second outright win last week against Gujarat had it not been for a relatively mediocre show with the ball in the second innings, is that they've played just five games -- one less than the top three teams. The top five teams qualify for the quarterfinals. 

"This match is very important for us," said Karnataka skipper R Vinay Kumar on the eve of the game at the KSCA Navule Stadium. "If we win outright, we'll rise up the points table. The morale in the team is very good. Having Manish (Pandey) back is a major boost for us. The wicket is good, has a bit of grass and I think it'll help the fast bowlers. Overall we are ready to play this game. We are very confident."

"Last game we could have won outright but we gave away extra runs in the second innings. Chasing 120 would have been ideal but 180 was difficult on that wicket. We have to play very good cricket and can't take Railways lightly. The team is doing very well. The youngsters have grabbed their opportunities, whoever has come in has done well for the team."

Although Karnataka will miss the services of dashing opener Mayank Agarwal, who has been called up for national duties, and middle-order mainstay Karun Nair (yet to recover from finger injury), they'll be welcoming back seasoned pacer Abhimanyu Mithun and enterprising Pandey.

Pandey is the sort of batsman Karnataka have missed sorely this season. While youngsters D Nischal, KV Siddharth and Devdutt Padikkal have shone this season, they aren't the type of batsmen who will take the attack to the opposition. They are cut from the old school style of batting cloth, the trio taking their time initially and then going about their business in a composed and uncomplicated manner.

On the other hand, Pandey barely operates in second gear. He likes to dominate the bowlers and his hard hitting has been a feature of many a Karnataka wins. Pandey, playing his first game of the season, will be hoping to lay siege on the Railways bowlers.

Vinay confirmed that wicketkeeper Sharath Srinivas will be given one more game and Ronit More will be one of three pacers apart from him and Mithun.

The squad: R Vinay Kumar (captain), Shreyas Gopal (vice-captain), D Nischal, KV Siddharth, R Samarth, Manish Pandey, Devdutt Padikkal, BR Sharath (wk), J Suchith, Abhimanyu Mithun, Ronit More, Pavan Deshpande, Sharath Srinivas (wk), K Gowtham, Prasidh Krishna.




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