New Delhi, Nov 16 (IANS) Though feeling confident after an outright win over Odisha at home, Delhi face a tough task ahead as they take on Baroda in the third round of their Ranji Trophy Group B tie.
Seven−time champions Delhi sit pretty at second place in their group with seven points while Baroda have six points from the two draws against Karnataka and Vidarbha.
Baroda's middle−order looks strong with Abhimanyu Chauhan and Rakesh Chauhan, who slammed centuries in their last outing against Vidarbha. Skipper Yusuf Pathan was also effective scoring 78 and taking two wickets. Key batsman Ambati Rayudu, who scored a half−century in their last match, can also play decisive innings.
However, the absence of all−rounder Irfan Pathan will be a boost for the hosts, as agreed by Delhi skipper Shikhar Dhawan. Pathan is out of action for four weeks due to a knee injury.
"Irfan injured is good news for us. Hope he gets well soon but he is a key member of the Baroda team and has won them matches. His performance is crucial so his absence is a boon for us. But his brother Yusuf looks in good form," said Dhawan, who scored a quickfire unbeaten 55 to help Delhi win by 10 wickets against Odisha in the second round.
Delhi's middle order also looks solid with Mithun Manhas, who scored an unbeaten 161 in the last match, in form. The return of experienced campaigner Rajat Bhatia and Yogesh Nagar, who was out with injuries, will boost the side's batting order which has struggled.