Delhi host Karnataka in must-win tie at Kotla

New Delhi, Dec 29 : Delhi face table toppers Karnataka at the Ferozeshah Kotla here Monday with a slim chance of making the Ranji Trophy quarterfinals.

Delhi lie fifth in Group A with 19 points from seven games behind Punjab (23 points), Mumbai (23), Gujarat (26) and Karnataka (32), who have already qualified for the knock-out stage. Top three teams make the cut.

The struggling hosts finally play at Kotla after controversially opting to play their first three home games at the nondescript Roshanara Ground. As always, it will be interesting to see how the Kotla pitch behaves.

Delhi have relied more on their pace battery and considering that they would want the curator to give the Asish Nehra led attack a helping pitch. Though the surface is known to be low and slow.

Nehra has been in top form but they would have also love to have Parvinder Awana for the must win match. Awana, who took 22 wickets in six games, has been ruled out for the final league game owing to a back injury and will be replaced by little known Javed Khan. Left-arm spinner Manan Sharma comes into the squad in place of medium pacer Pawan Suyal.

The high profile batting line-up certainly needs to rise to the occasion after a disappointing effort against Punjab at Roshanara earlier in the week, resulting in the side's first loss of the season.

Mithuan Manhas has been the their most prolific batsman with three hundreds and a 92. Unmukt Chand and captain Gautam Gambhir have scored in patches while Virender Sehwag has had a forgettable campaign. The 'Nawab of Najafgarh' has been way off the mark, managing scores of 10, 12, 50, 44, 3, 6, 9, 35 not out, 1, 15 so far.

The home team will have to come up with something special to upstage Karnataka, who come here after recording their first outright win against the mighty Mumbai in 22 years.

Delhi: Gautam Gambhir (captain), Unmukt Chand, Vaibhav Rawal, Mithun Manhas, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Yadav, Rajat Bhatia, Mohit Sharma, Milind Kumar, Manan Sharma, Varun Sood, Ashish Nehra, Sumit Narwal, Javed Khan.

Karnataka: R Vinay Kumar (captain), Lokesh Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Kunal Kapoor, Manish Pandey, Stuart Binny, CM Gautham, Ganesh Sathish, Abhimanyu Mithun, HS Sharath, KP Appanna, S Arvind, Abrar Kazi, Karun Nair, R Samarth.

--IANS (Posted on 29-12-2013)

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