Karnataka is on the verge of making history. Victorious in the Ranji Trophy and Irani Cup, it is just a step away from annexing a third crown if it emerges winner in the STAR Sports Vijay Hazare Trophy final at the Eden Gardens here on Sunday.
Railways stands between Karnataka and the extraordinary feat. Railways clinched the trophy in 2005-06 and has made it to the title round after seven years.
From the outset, Karnataka has looked the team of the tournament.
In ousting Gujarat and former champion Jharkhand, the Karnataka players displayed their prowess in no uncertain terms.
Opener Robin Uthappa stood out with back-to-back centuries. Captain Vinay Kumar, Abhimanyu Mithun and H.S. Sharath have done extremely well with the ball.
Railways’ march to the final has also been quite convincing. It began the tournament by eliminating Baroda, then packed off Punjab in the quarterfinals and outplayed Bengal in the semifinals.
It has been an outstanding performance from a side which does not boast of any big stars. Anureet Singh and Krishnakant Upadhyay have bowled brilliantly and Mahesh Rawat, Amit Paunikar and Shivakant Shukla have been the main contributors with the bat.
Railways will be playing its fourth match at the Eden Gardens and this will be a distinct advantage.
For Karnataka, the new venue means different conditions and the squad will have to quickly make the required adjustments.
The teams (from): Karnataka: R. Vinay Kumar (captain), Robin Uthappa, Lokesh Rahul, Karun Nair, Abrar Kazi, Abhimanyu Mithun, S. Sharath, Amit Verma, Mayank Agarwal, Manish Pandey, Kunal Kapoor, S. Arvind, Ronit More, Ganesh Satish and Shreyas Gopal.
Railways: Mahesh Rawat (captain), Karn Sharma, Arindam Ghosh, Shivakant Shukla, Amit Paunikar, Ashish Yadav, Chander Pal Saini, Jonathan Rongsen, Anureet Singh, Amit Mishra, Krishnakant Upadhyay, Avinash Yadav, Akshay C.K., Chelvaraj and Hardik Rathod.
Match starts at 8.45 a.m.