GUWAHATI, Nov 30 - For both Assam and Bengal it has been counted as the most crucial match of the season�s Ranji Trophy as they will face each other from tomorrow at the Barsapara cricket stadium here with 25 points each.
It will be the final match in the Group A for both the teams and atleast three points will certainly put one team in the knock-out stage.
Table leader Delhi (25 points from eight matches), Karnataka (24 points) and Vidarbha (22 points) are also in contention for the berth in the knock-out stage. Karnataka will play against Maharashtra while Vidarbha to take on Haryana. Four teams from Group A will qualify for the quarterfinals.
The same wicket will be used at the Barsapara where Assam played the previous three matches. Assam skipper Gokul Sharma believes that all the players will be able to deliver like they did in the matches against Karnataka, Rajasthan and Delhi.
Arup Das will open bowling with in-form Krishna Das after one match off due to injury. Gokul said all the players are in good shape and hoped to garner maximum points. He will go for fielding if wins the toss as the morning moisture will definitely provide ample support to the medium pacers. If Assam bat first the batsmen will require to build a healthy total so that the bowlers could defend.
Although the selectors have included veteran spinner Arlen Konwar in the 15-member squad it may not be possible for him to make cut into the final eleven.
Bengal captain Manoj Tiwary said, both the teams will have equal advantage on this condition as Guwahati is like Bengal�s home ground. He, however, said it will be a good toss to lose as nothing can be predicted on this track.
Tiwary revealed that all rounder Laxmi Ratan Shukla will return to the playing eleven in this match and it will be a big boost for the team.
Assam has to bank on the forms of batsmen KB Arun Karthik, Gokul Sharma, Amit Verma, Pallav Das, J Syed Mohammed along with young Rahul Hazarika while Bengal will look to Sudip Chatterjee, Manoj Tiwary, Abhimanyu Eswaran.
On the bowling front Krishna Das, Arup Das, J Syed Mohhmed have to play vital role for Assam while international Ashok Dinda and Pragyan Ojha are in good shape for the Bengal team in this season.