Pune: Skipper Ankeet Bawne and all-rounder Chirag Khurana were the heroes for Maharashtra in their previous Group A Ranji Trophy match against Uttar Pradesh.
Batting at No 4, Bawne scored 119 and 58 while Khurana bagged the match-figures of 6/184 as Maharashtra won the game by 31-runs.
On Wednesday. Maharashtra hosts a formidable opponent in form of Karnataka at the MCA International Stadium here in Gahunje. On the eve of the match, both the players sounded confident about playing against the side who has won the title twice in last four years.
Bawne, said that his side will go with the pace battery on Wednesday morning as the pitch looks more favourable to the seamers than spinners.
“We will mostly go with the fast bowlers, as I don;t think that this (wicket) will turn. So, far now the strategy is to go with the pacers, but few guys like (Vishal) Gite are unwell, so we have to look for the replacements,” he said.
“So only Chirag will play as a spinner, while Samad (Fallah) will definitely play as he is a frontline bowler and has done well in the past,” he said.
The middle-order batsman who was named the skipper for season felt that both the sides are on equal footing. He also added that he is enjoying the responsibility of being the leader and looks to carry his purple form playing in front of home crowd.
‘Will always give my best’
All-rounder Khurana, who will celebrate his 25th birthday during the course of the match, is unfazed by the big names, like Karun Nair, Stuart Binny, that Karnataka sides possess.
“If I think about whoever is playing, I would not be able to do what I want, I just keep it simple. (If I’m batting), I would watch the ball, and if I’m bowling, I would ball normally,” said the off-spinner.
The Pune wicket which has been in the spotlight for the past week.
Khurana too was on the same wavelength as his skippers’ about reading the wicket, which looks seam and batting friendly. But he expressed that, whatever chance he gets, he will do most of it.
Maharashtra: Ankeet Bawane (Captain); Harshad Khadiwale; Swapnil Gugale; Ruturaj Gaikwad; Naushad Shaikh; Rahul Tripathi; Chirag Khurana; Om Bhosale; Prayag Bhati; Rohit Motwani (Wk); Satyajeet Bachhav; Samad Fallah; Dadhe; Shrikant Mundhe; Nikit Dhumal
Karnataka: Vinay Kumar R (Captain); Samarth R; Karun Nair; Mayank Agarwal; Mir Kaunain Abbas; Pavan Deshpande; Gautam CM (WK); Stuart Binny; Gowtham K; Mithun A; Shreyas Gopal; Suchith J; Sharath Srinivas (Wk)