Bengaluru: looking to forget their lacklustre showing against Baroda in the last game, defendingchampions Karnataka would sure want to spring back to supremacy when they take on an under-performing Uttar Pradesh in their Group A Ranji Trophy cricket match, here tomorrow. An equally strong Baroda may have put the breaks on the free-wheeling juggernaut of the hosts this season, but Karnataka are leading the points table, topping the list with 29 points with four outright wins in six matches.
Uttar Pradesh are precariously placed at the bottom of the table with just two points out of six matches after a win and three losses. All their top batsmen – Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey, Karun Nair and Chidambaram Gautam – would like to forget their horrendous batting show in the drawn game against Baroda, who bagged 3 points, and seek confidence from their own performances in earlier five matches. Lokesh Rahul, who impressed the fans with a ton in his very second Test match against Australia, was the only top-order batsman who succeeded by scoring 89 runs in the first innings, but failed with a naught in the second.
However, Karnataka would like to see him carry this form into the match against Uttar Pradesh. Shreyas Gopal proved he is no mug with the bat and once again came to the rescue of the hosts by scoring a match-saving 51 not out in the second innings when wickets fell around him. Sreenath Aravind has given good support to other bowlers, and has collected 26 wickets, though he did not play against Madhya Pradesh.
Apart from a match-haul of eight wickets against Railways, India discard Abhimanyu Mithun has taken 15 wickets in last four innings he bowled. Meanwhile, the Piyush Chawla-led Uttar Pradesh is missing the services of Suresh Raina, who is busy with India’s battle in the tri-series against Australia and England. The visitors, placed at the bottom of the table, are literally out of the race for qualifying for the knockout