Amritsar: After being thoroughly defeated by Vidarbha at home in their last match, Bengal would look forward to get back to winning ways when they take on Punjab in a Group D clash at the Gandhi Sports Complex Ground in Amritsar on Friday.
After an unexpected draw against Himachal Pradesh, Manoj Tiwary’s Bengal side looked determined to win their clash against Vidarbha but Faiz Fazal and his team turned out to be a surprise package as they dominated the hosts entirely throughout the four days and hence emerged as the deserved winners of the match.
Thus, this match becomes all the more important for Bengal if qualifying for the knock-out stages of the tournament is kept in mind. Sairaj Bahutule’s side would have to improve in aspects to give Punjab a tough fight at their home ground.
But Tiwary’s side has a slight advantage over their opponents as they had beaten them last year and thus, they would look to do the same again. But this time they would be without the services of wicketkeeper batsman Wriddhiman Saha who is on national duty as hence two changes have been made.
Writtick Roychowdhury and Sourav Singh has been included in the team in place of Saha and Mohammad Shami. Coach Sairaj Bahutule said, “We have not been able to practice as we wanted. The nets were not ready. So we were limited to knock downs and one stump bowling. But the practice pitches were poor, so we could not risk bowling our pacers. However, the spinners bowled to the batsmen. At least we had a feel of the ground.”
When asked about the type of wicket at the ground, he said, “The wicket looked pretty okay at first sight. It is reasonably bald and spinners will come into play at some point of time. We can expect the ball to reverse also. But a lot will depend on the toss.”
He also hoped for the fact that Bengal would be able to put up a solid batting performance in the first innings and take a lead too, which would help them dictate terms in the match.
“A lot of that depends on the first day and first session and how much of game we get considering the conditions. We will first try to secure a first innings lead and then go for a win if the chance so provides,” added Sairaj.
Punjab and Bengal are at the second and fourth positions in Group D with 15 and 13 points respectively.