Gujarat and Bengal have played some close matches in the past in the National championship for the Ranji Trophy.

The latest clash between the two teams in a group ‘A’ league beginning at the Eden Gardens here on Saturday is expected to provide another riveting one.

The host — coming off a crushing innings defeat in Punjab — is on three points, while Gujarat — having conceded the first innings lead despite scoring 600 runs in the first innings — is on four points.

“The season is just opening up and there is a lot of cricket to be played,’’ said Bengal captain Manoj Tiwary.

“The team has learnt from the mistakes it committed at Mohali and now everybody is looking forward to this match. We need to play good cricket on all four days to get a favourable result,’’ he said.

Always close

His counterpart from Gujarat, Parthiv Patel said whenever Bengal and Gujarat played it was always a close game.

“Yes, playing Bengal at the Eden Gardens will be tough but we have young, exciting talent to take on the host,’’ he thought.

Bengal’s worry is certainly its top order which is not producing the partnership required to build big scores.

It has a settled bowling side and solid the middle-order. With the inclusion of Mohammad Shami, the pace attack has gained a cutting edge. Even the wicket that looks firm is likely to support the pacers.

What should worry Gujarat is that despite scoring 600 runs against Saurashtra, the total failed to get the team the first innings lead as Saurashtra hit back with 716 for three. Rujul Bhatt got 159 and Manpreet Juneja hit up 160 not out for Gujarat. S. Jogiyani’s 282 and a terrific unbeaten 303 from Ravindra Jadeja put Gujarat on the mat.

The third round game can also be a little battle field for the two, Parthiv and Wriddhiman, looking to cement a place in the Indian team.

The former, who had his time with the National side, is trying to return to the fold and Widdhi, considered to be the best behind the stumps in Indian cricket, has done well with the bat and can fancy a place in near future.

The teams (from):

Bengal: Manoj Tiwary (Capt.), Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Abhishek Jhunjhunwala, Partha Sarathi Bhattacharya, Writam Porel, Shreevats Goswami, Anustup Majumdar, Subhomoy Das, Debabrata Das, Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Iresh Saxena, Ashoke Dinda, Mohammad Shami, Sourav Sarkar and Veer Pratap Singh.

Gujarat: Parthiv Patel (Capt., wk), Priyank Panchal, Smit Patel, Niraj Patel, Faizal Dudhat, Manpreet Juneja, Rakesh Dhruv, Avi Barot, Mehul Patel, Y. Venugopala Rao, Krushang Patel, Bhargav Merai, Rush Kaleria, Rujul Bhatt and Salil Yadav.

  • Bengal’s primary concern is the top-order’s performance

  • Gujarat’s worry is its bowling department

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