Confident Bengal aim to extend unbeaten
run as they take on Odisha
23rd January 2023
Having already sealed a place in the Ranji Trophy quarterfinals, a jubilant Bengal team will now look to complete their group-stage formalities with a victory against Odisha in the final Elite Group A clash at the Eden Gardens starting on Tuesday.
The Laxmi Ratan Shukla-coached side, who are currently at the top of the group with 32 points with four wins and two draws, bagged a place in the last eight with a thumping innings and 50-run victory over Haryana in their last match in Lahli.
A win against the visiting Odisha team will help Bengal finish top of the group.
The Manoj Tiwary-led side, enjoying an unbeaten run in the campaign, will take a lot of positives into the match, the biggest being the rich form of batters Abhimanyu Easwaran, Sudip Kumar Gharami and Anustup Majumdar.
While Easwaran and Gharami have stepped up each time the situation demanded, Anustup, on the other hand, has used his experience superbly to score some fighting knocks in the ongoing campaign, highlight being his match-winning 145 in the last match on a challenging Lahli pitch.
Spin all-rounder Karan Lal, who opened the innings against Haryana, will look to get runs under his belt ahead of the knockouts.
Captain Manni, who has also scored some handy knocks, will hold the key in middle order.
In the bowling department, Bengal will unfortunately miss the services of left-arm spinner Shahbaz Ahmed and pacer Mukesh Kumar, who are part of the India squad for the New Zealand ODIs and T20Is respectively.
In Shahbaz's absence, it will be a toss-up between young spinner Pradipta Pramanik and all-rounder Sayan Sekhar Mondal. While Pritam Chakraborty will come in place of Mukesh.
Fresh from a 10-wicket haul in the previous match, Akash Deep will look to add more scalp to his name along with Ishan Porel.
"We will continue to focus on our process. Boys have played well so far, and we will aim to continue doing it and take the positive momentum ahead," head coach LR Shukla said after the team's practice session on Monday.
On the other hand, Odisha, who are out of the race for the knockouts, will aim to end their campaign on a high.
The Subhranshu Senapati-led side is yet to win a match in the group stage, having lost two and drawn four. They have played out a draw against Uttar Pradesh in their previous match.
CAB MEDIA DESK