Grudge match for Bengal vs Tamil Nadu

The final of the Vijay Hazare Trophy is seen in the cricketing fraternity as a grudge match,interlocked with battles within.

Written by Nadim Siraj | Agartala | Published:March 9, 2009 11:13 pm

The final of the Vijay Hazare Trophy is seen in the cricketing fraternity as a grudge match,interlocked with battles within. Bengal’s batting mainstay,Manoj Tiwary,reasoned it out from the team’s point of view: “We have to beat Tamil Nadu,and it’s a big motivation playing against them in the final. They beat us in the Ranji Trophy quarter-final earlier in the season. Now we want to beat them here and win the championship.”

At an individual level,there’s competition between Tiwary and

S Badrinath,rivals on the fringes of the Indian team and looking for opportunities to pip the other as the national selectors watch the action.

This tournament has been short on high-scoring opportunities because of sub-standard tracks,and the MBB Stadium pitch prepared for the final looks to match the same range of totals. Both skippers,Laxmi Ratan Shukla and Ravichandran Ashwin of Tamil Nadu,had little hesitation in admitting that the key to winning the final would lie in the batsmen applying themselves on a tricky wicket and the impact of spinners.

Deep batting

Bengal are flying in little-known off-spinner Priyankar Mukherjee to boost their bowling resources after injury to Ritam Kundu while Ashwin stresses that his team’s batting strength gives them a clear edge. “Our biggest plus is that we can bat really deep. Even when we have lost the top order early,our middle-order batsmen have bailed us out. It’s happened in a few matches,and our middle-order will matter the most in tomorrow’s match,” Ashwin said.

Even though Tamil Nadu are without regular skipper Dinesh Kartik,Murali Vijay and Laxmipathy Balaji,coach WV Raman’s contingent still flaunts a line-up of Badrinath,S Vidyut,Aniruddh Srikanth and Abhinav Mukund. In contrast,the Bengal batting is relying heavily on Tiwary,and barring little support from skipper Shukla,the rest of the batting is still to run into any kind of form.

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