Odisha, which hosts Karnataka in the fourth round Ranji Trophy group ‘A’ league clash, will be keen to capitalise on the form of its bowlers and go for a win.
Karnataka, having drawn all its three matches thus far, too will be keen to register a win.
The host, with one win (Jharkhand), a first innings lead (Vidarbha) and an outright loss (Punjab), is likely to go for a green top at the DRIEMS ground in Tangi, to aid its pace bowlers, especially Basant Mohanty, who has done wonderfully well so far.
Odisha captain Biplab Samantaray felt Karnataka was a superior side. “Our team has done well this season and we are confident to carry on our good work,” he said at the press conference.
“Our bowlers always did well in this meet. For a change our batsmen are clicking. We would like to carry on this momentum against Karnataka,” he said.
Under coach Debasis Mohanty, Odisha has retained the same nucleus for the past three years and that is bearing fruit.
Karnataka captain C.M. Gautam said his team would miss an injured Stuart Binny. Karnataka bats deep with a player like Ganesh Satish coming in at No. 7. With K.L. Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Robin Uthappa and Satish in good nick, Karnataka can always expect to excel in batting.
A. Mithun and H.S. Sharath can be very dangerous with their pace and movement.
Odisha is banking on Basant Mohanty who has taken 16 wickets from four innings. His six for 88 is the best in an innings and 11 for 148 is the best match haul, both achieved against Jharkhand at the same venue.
Among the batsmen, only veteran Niranjan Behera has 260 runs to his credit with 131 as the season’s highest.
The second best is Subhrajit Sahu, who hit up 114 not out for a total of 122.
The teams (from):
Odisha: Natraj Behera, Girija Rout, Govind Poddar, Biplab Samantaray (captain), Niranjan Behera, Abhilash Mallick, Basant Mohanty, Deepak Behera, Subhrajit Sahu (wk), Alok Chandra Sahoo, Alok Mangaraj, Santosh Jena, Bikash Pati, Haladhar Das (wk), Arbind Singh and Dhiraj Singh.
Karnataka: C.M. Gautam (captain and wk), Mayank Agarwal, Robin Uthappa, K.L. Rahul, Kunal Kapoor, Manish Pandey, Ganesh Satish, A. Mithun, H.S. Sharath, K.P. Appanna, Abrar Kazi, S. Arvind, R. Samarth, Karun Nair and Ronit More.