Ghaziabad: Left-arm spinner Murali Karthik's return will be a big boost for Railways as they take on Uttar Pradesh in a fifth round Ranji Trophy Elite Group encounter at the Mohan Meakins ground from Tuesday.
The two teams have everything to play for. While 'home team' UP will be looking for their elusive outright win having got three points each from their four matches. Right now UP are on 12 points from four matches -- third in the group league table behind Mumbai and Karnataka on 16 and 15 points respectively.
The Railways, on the other hand have four points from four matches but have played better cricket in their last two matches after being thrashed by Mumbai and Karnataka in the first two outings.
Karthik, who was out of the country due to personal reason, is a timely addition to the squad and is likely to replace pacer Anureet Singh.
The other pacer Krishnakant Upadhyay after his match-haul of 10-wickets is an automatic choice. The batting line-up might have some changes with veteran Yere Goud and young M Suresh may just be replaced with Prashant Awasthi and Nitin Bhille.
The Uttar Pradesh team has a formidable batting line-up that boasts of the domestic heavyweights like Tanmay Srivastava, India discard Mohammed Kaif, Parvinder Singh and Arish Alam. Even Leggie Piyush Chawla has been getting a few runs in every match.
UP's problem this season has been bowling as the attack comprising of skipper Rudra Pratap Singh and Bhuveneshwar Kumar hasn't exactly run the opposition sides. While Chawla has been the highest wicket-taker with 15 scalps but RP has had a poor outing so far with only eight wickets from four matches.