Lokesh Rahul
Lokesh Rahul might miss the Irani trophy game due to a hamstring injuryReuters

After winning the Ranji Trophy for the eighth time, the Karnataka side would be eager to win the prestigious Irani trophy as well, which starts in a few hours time at M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru.

The match played between the Ranji Trophy winning side and the Rest of India (ROI) is considered to be a huge clash, as it would comprise of a host number of good domestic cricketers.

This Rest of India side will be led by Manoj Tiwary. The ROI team looks decent with players of international experience such as Varun Aaron, Pragyan Ojha and also other cricketers, such as Unmukt Chand, Baba Aparajith, who would be eager to play for India.

So, a good performance for Rest of India could well grab the attention of the Indian selectors as well. The same can be said for Karnataka players, some of whom may be knocking at the selectors door.

Last season when the same two teams met for the Irani trophy, Karnataka won the game easily against the Rest of India side by an innings and 200 odd runs.

The Rest of India will find it difficult to defeat the in-form Karnataka side this time as well, who are high on confidence after successfully defending the Ranji trophy title a week ago.

The match could be an interesting one where experienced bowlers of ROI such as Ojha and Aaron would battle it out against the successful Karnataka batsman. The man of the moment, Karun Nair would be keen to carry on his form from the finals, where he scored a triple ton helping him win the Man of the Match as well.

But, they could miss their star opener, Lokesh Rahul due to a hamstring injury. Rahul has been one of the consistent batsmen for Karnataka.

Still, the Ranji trophy champions are considered favourites to win the trophy, as they have a relatively balanced side with good set of bowlers along with the batsmen.

With batsmen such as Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey and Karun Nair, they have a formidable batting line-up capable of piling huge scores and their bowling unit looks impressive with Vinay Kumar, who is also the skipper and also the lanky Abhimanyu Mithun, who could also hold the key for Karnataka.

Where to Watch Live

The prestigious Irani Trophy, which is set to be played between Karnataka and Rest of India will start at 9:30am local time (4pm GMT). The game can be watched live in Star Sports 2 and Star Sports 2 HD.