South Zone will clash with East for a berth in the final of the Duleep Trophy. The focus of the four-day semifinal, commencing at the ACA-VDCA Stadium here on Sunday, will be on South zone skipper R. Vinay Kumar, medium-pacer Abhimanyu Mithun and East’s Saurabh Tiwary.
After quite a few good knocks this season, opener Abhinav Mukund will look to get into the Indian squad for the England series.
Heavy rain on Friday night prevented the players from having ‘nets’ session at the Stadium’s B ground. The stadium has an excellent drainage system and even if it rains on Saturday night, the match could start on time. But the worrying factor is the weathermen have predicted rain on Sunday also.
Vinay Kumar has predicted lot of runs after having a close look at the pitch. Both teams have not finalised their playing XIs.
East will look to Ashok Dinda, who played a major role in team’s triumph last season, for early breakthroughs. The team misses the services of Wriddhiman Saha and medium-pacer Shami Ahmed.
Anustup Majumdar, who cracked two centuries, and skipper Natraj Behara will look to continue their good form with the bat for East.
National selectors Roger Binny and Saba Karim will watch the performance of the players during the match.
The teams: South Zone (from): R. Vinay Kumar (capt.), Abhinav Mukund, Robin Uthappa, P. Akshat Reddy, Amit Verma, Manish Pandey, J. Kaushik, A.G. Pradeep, K.P. Appanna, Stuart Binny, R. Prasanna, C.M. Gautam, Abhimanyu Mithun, R. Aushik Srinivas, Sony Cheruvathur and K. Shri Vasudevadas.
East Zone (from): Natraj Behara (capt.), Anustup Majumdar, Biplab Samantray, Ashok Dinda, Saurabh Tiwary, Dheeraj Jadhav, Basant Mohanty, Ishank Jaggi, Manish Vardhan, Samar Quadri, Shiv Gautam, Gokul Sharma, Mani Shankar and Iresh Saxena.
Umpires: Anil Choudhury (Delhi) and Vineet Kulkarni (Maharashtra). Match referee: Sanjay Patil (Mumbai).