Upbeat after pounding Odisha by 10 wickets, Delhi now looks to continue its domination of an injury-hit Baroda at Ferozeshah Kotla ground when the third round of Ranji Trophy league commences on Saturday.
Baroda remains one among the consistent teams in domestic cricket. However, in eight encounters between the teams since 1984, Delhi has won five times and taken the first innings lead in the other three. When the teams met here last December, Delhi prevailed by 10 wickets. Ashish Nehra, who wrecked Baroda in the last encounter, returns to serve Delhi after opting to stay out of the match against Odisha. Rajat Bhatia will also be back by replacing Milind Kumar after missing the first two matches due to injury. With Pathan brothers, Yusuf and Irfan, out with injuries, Ambati Rayudu will lead Baroda. A well-settled side, Baroda has the resources to trouble Delhi.
Though Delhi’s pace attack looks better and the coming in of Bhatia lends the right balance to the side, Baroda carries the confidence gained against Vidarbha after most of its batsmen struck form.
Apart from its depth in batting, Baroda has a variety in its attack. The experienced batting line-up of Kedar Devdhar, Aditya Waghmode, Abhimanyu Chauhan, Rakesh Solanki and Rayudu has been consistent. It has a mix of batsmen who have the temperament to bat long and score big.
Delhi’s batsmen will have to deal with the likes of medium pacers Murtuja Vahora, Firdaus Bhaja, Gagandeep Singh and left-arm spinner Bhargav Bhatt. With Nehra coming in, skipper Shikhar Dhawan and coach Vijay Dahiya will have to take a call on the bowlers for the match. Pawan Suyal and Sumit Narwal did well in the last match. Parvinder Awana is a hard trier and promises much. Spinners Vikas Mishra and Manan Sharma could do little in the second innings against Odisha on a surface where the bounce is variable and hardly assists turn. The pitch, where only one under-25 match has been played this season, is likely to lack bounce. Since Delhi is better equipped to deal with such a surface, it will be more optimistic going into this battle of equals.