The Ranji Trophy fourth-round Elite Group B match between Saurashtra and depleted Delhi will begin on Tuesday at the Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) Stadium in Rajkot. Saurashtra will be the favorite to win the match, which will be played in Rajkot.
If they are available, Indian internationals Jaydev Unadkat and Cheteshwar Pujara would further strengthen a Saurashtra team that will be riding a wave of confidence after overcoming Mumbai by 48 runs in the previous round. After claiming its first-ever victory against Mumbai in the history of the Ranji Trophy, Saurashtra is now ranked third on the points table with one victory and two draws.
A growing number of casualties
Meanwhile, Delhi is now in seventh place after suffering a defeat at the hands of Maharashtra by a score of nine wickets in the first match of the tournament and handing first-innings leads to both Assam and Tamil Nadu. The extensive injury list among Delhi’s fast bowlers has worsened the team’s troubles. Both Ishant Sharma and Navdeep Saini are still unable to play due to a side strain and an abdominal ailment, respectively. Both Mayank Yadav and Simarjeet Singh have sustained injuries; Mayank’s is a torn hamstring, while Simarjeet’s is a heel ailment. Due to an injury, Harshit Rana, who was the finest pacer on display against Tamil Nadu, won’t be able to play against Saurashtra either. Divij Mehra or Prince Yadav may be the one to get the first cap.
On a fine batting pitch at Feroz Shah Kotla, the previous week, the Delhi spinners often lacked power and control, negatively impacting their performance against Tamil Nadu. They should take this as a warning sign and try to maintain control of the run rate for longer periods, particularly against a Saurashtra lineup that features middle-order bulwark Sheldon Jackson, skilled at negotiating with spinners and can face them when necessary.
Enhancement in all areas
The home side has benefited greatly from the all-around performance of left-arm spin bowling all-rounder Dharmendrasinh Jadeja. After achieving a career-best score in the first-class competition with 90 runs scored in the third innings, he took six wickets out of 154 during the match against Mumbai. Dhruv Shorey is currently on a hot streak with the bat for Delhi, and the team will be hoping that captain Dhull can come into his own and provide the batting with some much-needed stability.
Delhi needs a victory to keep its fading chances of qualifying for the knockout round alive.
The Delhi selectors decided not to maintain the keeper-battery Anuj Rawat in the team after he scored 157 runs over the course of three matches with an average of less than 30. Vikas Mishra, who practices left-arm slow orthodox, was also threatened by the axe. New members have been brought into the team, including keeper Krish Yadav and opener Salil Malhotra.
The most recent encounter for Delhi was played at home. Because of the short turnaround time between matches (three days), which includes travel time by plane, and the paucity of choices, Delhi is in no position to finance a rest-and-rotation programme. But it’s not all bad news for Delhi, at least not off the pitch where things are being played. When Yash Dhull’s men arrived in Rajkot, they were met with a mixture of hazy sunlight and mild air, a welcome break from the terrible cold they had been experiencing back home.