Karnataka the favourites against Jammu and Kashmir

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Hubballi, Jan 4: Aiming to continue their imperious form which has fetched them three comprehensive victories in the new season, defending champions Karnataka would take on giant-killers Jammu and Kashmir in their Group A Ranji Trophy cricket match at the KSCA Stadium here tomorrow.

Fresh from their third comprehensive triumph against Railways, Karnataka are the team to beat in the current season and the selection of their players -- Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey and Stuart Binny -- in the 30-member World Cup probables list has made matters interesting for the hosts.

BCCI

Karnataka began this year's campaign with great authority by beating Tamil Nadu and Bengal before facing Railways who were thumped royally by the champion team.

Karnataka are topping the points-table with 18 points from three matches and Jammu and Kashmir has ten points from four matches.

Home captain Vinay Kumar couldn't have asked for more from Pandey, Uthappa and other top-order batsmen, who have been among runs.

Uthappa, one of the strong hopefuls of making the final 15-member World Cup squad, has been in tremendous form and scored three fifties including a 97-run knock in the previous match against Railways.

Captain Kumar is leading from the front, having picked 16 wickets including the six-wicket haul in the second innings of Bengal at Eden Gardens.

Sreenath Aravind has given him good support by collecting 18 wickets. India discard Abhimanyu Mithun finished with a match-haul of eight wickets in the previous game against Railways and would like to continue the form in the upcoming match.

On the other hand, Jammu and Kashmir are placed third on the table, which signifies that they have performed far better than expected before start of the season.

They started their campaign magnificently by drubbing the Indian powerhouse Mumbai in a historic outcome, but they lost the next match against Tamil Nadu.

Jammu and Kashmir bounced back, grabbing most points from a drawn match, riding high on tons from the blades of captain Parveez Rasool and pacer Ram Dayal, against Baroda.

Teams (from): Karnataka: Vinay Kumar (capt), Mayank Agarwal, Sreenath Aravind, Shishir Bhavane, Stuart Binny, CM Gautam (wk), Shreyas Gopal, Kunal Kapoor, Abrar Kazi, Abhimanyu Mithun, Karun Nair, Manish Pandey, Udit Patel, Ravikumar Samarth, HS Sharath, Robin Uthappa.

Jammu and Kashmir: Parvez Rasool (C), Ram Dayal, Shubham Khajuria, Obaid Haroon (W), Ian Chauhan, Hardeep Singh, Samiullah Beigh, Waseem Raza, Bandeep Singh, Aamir Aziz, Adil Resh.

PTI

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