2017-18 Ranji Trophy quarter-finalists decided
After 84 matches and 52 days, the league stage of the 2017-18 Ranji Trophy came to an end with the top two teams from each group making it to the quarter-finals while the others are knocked out in the first round itself.
In spite of playing out of their skins, few teams have found themselves out of the tourney by the narrowest of margins. Gujarat collected the most number of points among all the eight teams with 34 points from six games while Tripura managed to get the lowest points from the group stage with just two in six matches.
The quarter-finals will start from December 7 and unlike the league matches, it will be a five-day affair. Rajkot, Hyderabad, Nagpur and Vijayawada will be the venues of the quarter-final clashes. Let us take a look at the teams that are through to the quarter-finals of the 2017-18 season.
Group A: Karnataka and Delhi
Former Champions Karnataka are on a dream run as they crushed all their opponents who came their way and finished at the top of Group A with 32 points. Mayank Agarwal has been sensational with the bat as he became the 18th batsman to score over 1000 runs in a season and is the leading runscorer in the ongoing tournament.
Along with Vinay Kumar and co., Rishabh Pant's Delhi progressed to the quarters after finishing with 27 points. It was a collective effort from the Delhi players as every single individual contributed to the team's cause in the group stage.
Group B: Gujarat and Kerala
Kerala created history as they qualified to the quarter-finals for the first time (not considering the plate league) in Ranji Trophy. Former Madhya Pradesh all-rounder and one of Kerala's two guest players, Jalaj Saxena was the star performer for Sachin Baby's men while others played their part in taking their team to the next stage.
Unfortunately, the Keralites finished second as defending champions Gujarat raced their way to the top of Group B with 34 points when compared to Kerala's 31. Once again, it was Priyank Panchal and Parthiv Patel, who steered them into the next round. Rookie spinner Siddarth Desai and Chintan Gaja have been the unsung heroes in their journey so far.
Group C: Madhya Pradesh and Mumbai
Andhra started off the season on a great note as they led the group till the start of last round. Both Mumbai and MP needed a win in the last round to seal their places and they exactly did that and booked their spot in the quarters with 21 points each.
Prithvi Shaw has been Mumbai's star performer as he kept scoring on a consistent basis. He was supported well by his fellow opener Jay Bista, Abhishek Nayar and Siddesh Lad with the bat and the experienced Dhawal Kulkarni with the ball.
Madhya Pradesh, on the other hand, had everyone in the side contributing to their success.
Group D: Vidarbha and Bengal
The story of this season so far has to be the resurgence of the Vidarbha side. Led by opener Faiz Fazal, Vidarbha has been impressive throughout the season and they finished at the top of Group D with 31 points. Fazal, along with his fellow opener Sanjay Ramaswamy and Ranji Trophy legend Wasim Jaffer, played a crucial role in taking their side to the quarters.
Along with Vidarbha, Bengal sneaked into the quarters ahead of Punjab as they finished with 23 points compared to Punjab's 21.
Quarter-final matches (Matches will be played from December 7-December 11):
Karnataka v Mumbai
Delhi v Madhya Pradesh
Gujarat v Vidarbha
Kerala v Bengal