Karnataka may be without the services of opening batsman Mayank Agrawal, but the team has enough firepower to match Rajasthan in its Ranji Trophy quarterfinal outing, which commences at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium on Tuesday.
Mayank, who put on a good show in the recent Test series in Australia, is out with a thumb injury, KSCA secretary, Sudhakar Rao stated.
The Karnataka batting line-up, however, has been well served by the young duo of D. Nischal and K.V. Siddharth. While Siddharth has recorded two centuries and four fifties, Nischal has three hundreds and three fifties to his name.
Both batsmen may not be adventurous in their strokeplay, but possess the steady temperament so vital to success in first-class cricket.
Asked if Mayank’s absence will hurt the team’s chances, Karnataka skipper Manish Pandey said, “A little bit. The way Mayank played in the two Tests – it would have helped us to have him here.”
Karnataka will hope to see a struggling R. Samarth return to form. Karun Nair, who averages 22.5 in three matches, is also due for a big one.
“Both Karun and Samarth are big match players. We have backed them before, and they have really done well for Karnataka in recent years. A couple of bad games do not define a player,” Pandey said.
Karnataka did not have the best of results in away games, so the side will be more than happy to compete in a familiar setting.
“We will have the home advantage and the support of the people here. We have many good memories on this ground, where we have won games from nowhere. I think it will be important for us to remember those moments and win this game,” Pandey said.
The home team will be tested by Rajasthan’s bowling attack, which has been on fire. Left-arm pacers Aniket Choudhary and Tanveer Ul-Haq have scalped 47 wickets each, while leg-spinner Rahul Chahar has 36 wickets to his name.
Fast bowler Nathu Singh, picked by Delhi Capitals in the IPL auction, has recorded 22 wickets. Deepak Chahar, who has two international caps, is a threat with the new ball.
The batting is spearheaded by Robin Bist and young skipper Mahipal Lomror, both of whom have registered in excess of 600 runs in the tournament. Rajasthan may lack star power, but the unit is packed with match-winners.
This is best evidenced in the fact that the visitor finished the group stage with seven outright wins and 51 points – the highest tally among all teams across groups.
Karnataka: Manish Pandey (Captain), Shreyas Gopal, Vinay Kumar, D. Nischal, Karun Nair, R. Samarth, A. Mithun, Ronit More, K. Gowtham, Prasidh Krishna, K.V. Siddharth, J. Suchith, B.R. Sharath, Sharath Srinivas, Pavan Deshpande.
Rajasthan: Mahipal Lomror (Captain), Rajesh Bishnol Jr., Amit Gautam, Manendra Singh, Chetan Bist, Rajesh Bishnol Sr., Ashok Menaria, Salam Khan, Robin Bist, Deepak Chahar, Rahul Chahar, Tejendra Singh, Aniket Choudhary, Nathu Singh, Tanveer Ul Haq.