Kolkata, Jan 6 (PTI) Buoyed by their splendid win over Delhi, Bengal face a star-studded Punjab in a do-or-die Ranji Trophy Elite Group B clash here on Monday.
Abhimanyu Easwaran’s unbeaten 183 helped Bengal seal a sensational 322-run chase by seven wickets, which moved them to the seventh spot in the combined group A and B standings.
Punjab also won in their last round as they crushed Kerala by 10 wickets with opener Shubman Gill continuing his sublime form.
Both Bengal and Punjab have secured two wins from seven matches this season and in desperation, the hosts shifted the venue from Eden Gardens to a rank-turner at the Jadavpur University Salt Lake campus ground.
Bengal are unlikely to tinker the winning combination, going with two specialist spinners in Pradipta Pramanik and Aamir Gani, while Anustup Majumdar and skipper Manoj Tiwary could be seen in part-time roles with the ball.
But the Bengal bowlers will have the exuberant of Shubman Gill standing in the way.
The 19-year-old’s performance in the domestic circuit has also been top notch this season as he has amassed 629 runs in just seven innings at an average of 125.80. His highest score of 268 came against Tamil Nadu.
Punjab will also look forward to former India star all-rounder Yuvraj Singh, who will look to make an impact both with the bat and ball.
“We all know it’s a vital match. Whoever wins will qualify. Both teams have been playing well and will give their best. The team who capitalises the sessions in the first two days will have the edge,” Yuvraj said.
Giving his take on the pitch, he said: “I think the wicket will spin. It’s an early start, it might swing in the morning. Lunch time and tea time will play good but eventually it will spin.” “Last three-four games, I have not got runs. I would look to get into some kind of form. If I get into form, I’ve the ability to win the game. If it’s the last game of the season, I’m looking forward to contribute for Punjab, whether batting or bowling,” Yuvraj said.
Bengal skipper Manoj Tiwary will also look to be among the runs after his failure against Delhi.
“The way we played the last match has given our confidence a huge boost. We will look for seven points. Looking at the wicket, it seems seven points will be on offer,” Tiwary said.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.