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Vidarbha eye double, Rahane WC spot 

Nagpur, February 11

Ajinkya Rahane will be hoping to keep himself in the mix for the upcoming World Cup as he leads a formidable Rest of India (RoI) against Ranji Trophy champions Vidarbha in the Irani Cup match here tomorrow. Vidarbha, on the other hand, will aim for a double like last year, when they won both the Ranji Trophy and the Irani Cup. It won’t be easy though, with RoI boasting names like Rahane, Mayank Agarwal, Shreyas Iyer and Hanuma Vihari in their ranks.

Rahane, who played three List A matches against England Lions and scored two half-centuries, is fighting for the reserve opener’s slot in the World Cup-bound squad. Though the Irani Cup is a five-day game, a good knock here will bolster Rahane’s claim to the third opener’s slot. 

Vidarbha will head into the contest without their star pacer Umesh Yadav, who has been advised rest following a minor injury.  However, all other prominent names, including Wasim Jaffer (who will turn 41 during the match), left-arm spinner Aditya Sarwate, wicketkeeper-batsman Akshay Wadkar and seamer Rajneesh Gurbani, are available to take on the mighty RoI. 

The batting-heavy RoI appear a little weak on the bowling front, with UP’s Ankit Rajpoot, Rajasthan’s Tanveer ul Haq and Kerala’s Sandeep Warrier shouldering the pace department, and Saurashtra’s Dharmendra Jadeja and off-spinner Krishnappa Gowtham talking care of the spin section. 

The hosts, on the other hand, will bank on Jaffer, skipper Faiz Fazal and opener Sanjay Ramaswamy and Sarwate, the Man of the Match in the Ranji final. 

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