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    Ranji Trophy, round 2: Group A Teams look to surpass Punjab

    New Delhi: The second round of the 2012-13 Ranji Trophy season gets underway across the country on Friday, after an engaging first round of matches in which there were five outright wins and gripping, hard-fought draws at Indore and Nadaun. Round two sees three additional teams open their campaigns – Goa, Maharashtra and Saurashtra. Here’s a look at the Group A matches starting November 9. Hyderabad v Madhya Pradesh at Hyderabad:Hyderabad host Madhya Pradesh at home after losing to a Harbhajan Singh-led Punjab by an innings and 68 runs in Mohali in the first round. Hyderabad will be without left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha who will link up with India’s squad in Ahmedabad ahead of the first Test against England starting November 15. Hyderabad took little from the defeat at the PCA Stadium. Only opener Akshath Reddy, with twin half-centuries, and captain VVS Laxman with 67 in the second innings made a mark with the bat. With the ball, Hyderabad took just six wickets while conceding a total of 565; without Ojha, who had figures of 50-8-201-2 in that match, the bowling appears even thinner. MP come into this match having escaped with a gritty draw against Gujarat in Indore. Their eighth-wicket pair of Anand Rajan – who took season-high 7 for 77 in Gujarat’s first innings – and Jalaj Saxena batted 24.3 overs and 97 tense minutes to avert defeat. Naman Ojha scored half-centuries in both innings against Gujarat and will once again be the key man for MP. SquadsHyderabad: VVS Laxman (capt), Dwaraka Ravi Teja, Vishal Sharma, Anwar Ahmed, Mohammed Khader, Abhinav Kumar, Ashish Reddy, Pragyan Ojha, Ibrahim Khaleel (wk), Pagadala Naidu, Syed Quadri, Hanuma Vihari, Akshath Reddy, Akshath Reddy, Arjun Yadav, Bavanaka SandeepMadhya Pradesh: Devendra Bundela (capt), Udit Birla, Anand Ranjan, Anand Singh, Ankit Sharma, Asif Ali, Gaurav Yadav, Satyam Choudhary, Harpreet Singh, Naman Ojha (wk), Rameez Khan, Ishwar Pandey, Chandrakant Sakure, Jalaj Saxena, Zafar Ali, Amit SharmaPunjab v Bengal at Mohali: Punjab will be without Harbhajan Singh, away on national duty, but they are the form side having beaten Hyderabad by an innings to top Group A. The form of their openers Karan Goel and Jiwanjot Singh will be a major asset, as the pair put on 288 for the first wicket in Mohali, as will the fine efforts of the Kaul brothers. Fast bowler Siddarth took five wickets to clinch victory against Hyderabad in the second innings and elder brother Uday held five catches behind the stumps. Bengal – four points behind Punjab - were denied victory by the weather in Eden Gardens, and with captain Manoj Tiwary and Ashok Dinda ignored by the Indian selectors the team has two players with points to prove. Tiwary did not make many runs against Rajasthan, and neither did Dinda take wickets, so against the home team the pair will be out to impress significantly. The bowling of Laxmi Ratan Shukla and Sourav Sarkar were plus points in Kolkata, and Bengal will hope the medium-pace pair again finds assistance overhead and underfoot. SquadsPunjab: Mandeep Singh, Karan Goel, Amitoze Singh, Gurkirat Ahluwalia, Bipul Sharma, Manpreet Gony, Jiwanjot Singh, Siddarth Kaul, Uday Kaul (wk), Sanddep Sharma, Rajwinder Singh, Rahul Sharma, Mayank SidhanaBengal: Manoj Tiwary (capt), Rohan Banerjee, Jayojit Basu, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Parthasarathi Bhattacharjee, Anirban Chatterjee, Subhomoy Das, Anustup Majumdar, Arnab Nandi, Writam Porel, Ashok Dinda, Veer Pratap Singh, Sourav Sarkar, Iresh Saxena, Laxmi ShuklaGujarat v Saurashtra at Surat:After being denied a win by MP, Parthiv Patel’s Gujarat will take on a Cheteshwar Pujara-less Saurashtra who will open their campaign in round two. Gujarat look the stronger team with Parthiv, Smit Patel, Niraj Patel and Manpreet Juneja all coming off half-centuries. Saurashtra, captained by Jaydev Shah, have the services of star allrounder Ravindra Jadeja who will be looking at a strong Ranji Trophy season to push his claims for an India recall. The veteran Shitanshu Kotal, Chirag Pathak, Jaydev Unadkat – who was recently released from the BCCI’s contract list – and Sagar Jogiyani are the men on whom the visitors will most rely. SquadsGujarat: Parthiv Patel (capt/wk), Priyank Kirit Panchal, Mehul Patel, Manprit Juneja, Rakesh Dhurv, Faisal Dudhat, Bhargav Merai, Rush Kalaria, Akshar Patel, Niraj Patel, Smit Patel, Amit Singh, Venugopal Rao, Salil Yadav, Bhavik ThakerSaurashtra: Jaydev Shah (capt), Balkrishna Jadeja, Aarpit Vasavada, Bhushan Chauhan, Sheldon Jackson, Nayan Doshi, Ravindra Jadeja, Sagar Jogiyani (wk), Shitanshu Kotak, Jayesh Odedra, Kamlesh Makvana, Chirag Pathak, Saurya Sanandiya, Jaydev UnadkatFor a preview of the Rajasthan v Mumbai match in Jaipur, click here.