Another decisive encounter is on the cards when Karnataka and Haryana face off on a green-looking pitch at the Bansi Lal Stadium here on Friday.
Though both teams are depleted — Karnataka without a newly-married Vinay Kumar and an injured Robin Uthappa and Haryana missing Amit Mishra and Mohit Sharma (both on National duty) besides coach-cum-captain Ajay Jadeja — the pace options on view and the conditions assisting seam and swing raise visions of a fourth successive outright result here this season.
Karnataka has struggled so far. Notwithstanding the victory over Odisha in its previous match, Karnataka could not play to its potential in the drawn encounters against Vidarbha and Jharkhand. Conceding the first innings lead to Gujarat was clearly another low for the unpredictable side.Advantage Haryana
Considering that Haryana has lost four out of five matches this season, Karnataka should have been upbeat. But the recent history involving these teams serves enough positives for the host. In the last three encounters, Haryana has gained at the expense of Karnataka.
With its batting looking good, Karnataka hopes to strike with pacemen A. Mithun, H. S. Sharath with either left-arm S. Arvind or Rohit More for company. With a fit-again Stuart Binny back, the options stand enhanced. “We are not missing the presence of the ‘stars’ since all the players are looking in good shape,” said Karnataka’s batting coach J. Arun Kumar.
Under Rahul Dewan, Haryana’s fourth skipper this season, the host has a fairly experienced line-up. Though stand-in coach Ashwini Kumar candidly admitted that last week’s narrow-defeat to Punjab was still hurting, he was confident the team would learn from the missed chances and come good.
With enough choices in the pace department — Harshal Patel, Sanjay Badhwar, Joginder Sharma, Ashish Hooda and Sachin Rana — Haryana hopes to rattle Karnataka once again.
The teams (from):
Karnataka: C. M. Gautam (capt.), K. L. Rahul, Mayank Aggarwal, Kunal Kapoor, Manish Pandey, Stuart Binny, Ganesh Satish, Abrar Kazi, A. Mithun, H. S. Sharath, S. Arvind and Rohit More.
Haryana: Rahul Dewan (capt.), Nitin Saini, Abhimanyu Khod, Sunny Singh, Avi Barot, Rahul Dalal, Sachin Rana, Jayant Yadav, Harshal Patel, Sanjay Badhwar Sandeep Singh, Joginder Sharma, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ashish Hooda and Rahul Tiwatiya.