Hyderabad, Jan 1 (UNI) Hosts Hyderabad takes on former champions Bengal in the crucial Ranji Trophy Elite Group-B tie beginning at Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium here tomorrow.
With eight points from four matches and chances of inching closer to semi-finals, this match has become crucial for both the teams.
Hyderabad have three centurians of this season in their ranks, including find of the season Ravi Teja scoring consistently.Experienced AT Rayudu, Anirudh Singh and Vinay Kumar have scored centuries and are raring to go.
Opener Ravi Teja topped the table with 325 runs from four matches and is looking forward for a maiden century which he missed by a run. The century by middle order batsman Arjun Yadav in Duleep Trophy against Srilanka-A at Eden Gardens will be fresh in Bengal's memories.
Though their new ball bowlers MP Arjun and Alfred Absolem has won the match against Mumbai at home, Hyderabad also has strike bowler in Pragyan Ojha, who has taken 23 wickets in four matches.
On the other hand, with experienced openers Amitava Chakravarthy and Arindam Das and promising young batsmen Manoj Tiwari and AA Jhunjhunwala in their ranks, Bengal's batting line-up looks stronger on paper.
The 21-year-old right-handed batsman Manoj Tiwari has scored an unbeaten double century (210) against 36-times champion Mumbai at Eden Gardens and added 99 valuable runs in the company of Jhunjhunwala (114).
With useful left-hand batsman Rohan Gavaskar, wicketkeeper and captain Deep Dasgupta and allrounder Lakshmi Ratan Shukla coming in the late order, Bengal will be hoping to put up good scores against hosts.
Bengal have good new ball bowler in RR Bose, who has taken 21 wickets this season so far. Their right-arm medium pacer Ranadeb Ranjit Bose, who wrecked Punjab with his match winning performance of six for 87 and young Ashok Dinda (5/57), whose performance against Punjab second innings will definitely threaten Hyderabad top order, with the sporting pitch offering juice to new ball bowlers.
Their only worry in the bowling department, as their struggling off-spinner SS Lahiri, who has taken just four wickets this season by sending down 140 overs in four matches.Pitch Curator Gopala Rao said it is a perfect sporting pitch and whoever survives the initial moments can pile up a huge score.
Hyderabad : Anirudh Singh (captain), A Absolem, MP Arjun, Khaleel (wicketkeeper), Niranjan, P Ojha, Ravi Teja, AT Rayudu, Indersekhar Reddy, P Kaushik Reddy, Shiv Shanker, Shashank Nag, T.Suman, Vinay Kumar, Arjun Yadav and BSK Yadav.
Bengal: Deep Dasgupta (captain/keeper), Arindam Das, RR Bose, AP Chakraborty, S G Das, A Dinda, Eklak Ahmid, R S Gavaskar, Jhunjhunwala, S S Lahiri, K H Mondal, Safi Ahmed, SS Sarkar, L R Shukla, S Singh and Tiwary.