Ranji Trophy 2013-14 preview: Bengal wary of Madhya Pradesh at home

Ishwar Pandey will be the key player for Madhya Pradesh © AFP (Representational Picture)

Kolkata: Nov 13, 2013

Bengal will have a testing time at home when they take on Madhya Pradesh in their Group B Ranji Trophy match beginning at the Eden Gardens in Thursday.

Boasting a fiery attack with left-arm pacer Ishwar Pandey up their ranks, Madhya Pradesh had defeated Bengal comprehensively at home last season, while in 2011-12 they walked away with three points chasing down 496 in the first innings.

With a green-top on offer, Pandey who already has 12 wickets from two matches will be tempted to utilise the early morning moisture as the home side will have plenty to think about.

The 24-year-old left-arm pacer was the highest wicket taker (52) in the First-Class matches last season and played for India A in away and home series against South Africa and West Indies.

It will be interesting to see how Bengal batting, without their mainstay Manoj Tiwary, rise up to the challenge in the next four days.

“Tiwary makes a difference to the side and his absence will be an advantage,” MP captain Devendra Bundela said on Wednesday.

“We have done well against Bengal in the past and the boys are looking forward to another good show,” Bundela said adding that getting three points would be their priority.

In batting, MP opener Satyam Chaudhary already has an unbeaten double century against Railways in their opening match while Monish Mishra and skipper Bundela too have showed promise with half-centuries.

Both the teams are on par in the points tally with four each from two matches.

After a wash out opening fixture against Baroda here, Bengal showed some promise in the last round returning with three points from Rajashtan.

MP, on the other hand, came here after conceding first innings lead to Tamil Nadu that came after clinching three points against Railways, both at home.