2017-18 Ranji Trophy, Round 6 Preview: Karnataka, Vidarbha and Saurashtra close to quarters; Mumbai, TN and Delhi in tricky spot
The onus will be on youngsters to perform with Indian stars off for national duty.
As the 2017-18 season of the Ranji Trophy gears up to play host to the penultimate stage of the round robin stages, the sixth round promises to bear witness to some mouth-watering clashes as teams will be itching to grab a spot in the quarterfinals that begin in December.
While Karnataka has enjoyed a stellar run this season, they will look to book a quarters berth as they face a listless Uttar Pradesh line-up while on the other hand, Tamil Nadu will look to get a win under their belt in the Group C clash against Madhya Pradesh.
Bengal, who will miss the services of some international stars owing to national commitments are set to face a confident Punjab side, which will be coming into the clash at the back of consecutive wins while a roaring Vidharbha side, led by the dynamic Faiz Fazal, square off against Goa.
Defending champions Gujarat, who are unbeaten this season, surely pose a threat to Rajasthan in the group B clash at Surat.
Here is an overview of all the fixtures lined up in the Ranji Trophy's sixth-round which will take place between the 17th and 20th of October.
The sixth round promises to provide some excellent entertainment with both Karnataka and Delhi gunning for a quarterfinals spot. Karnataka will travel to Kanpur as they face off against the hosts who will look for some inspiration from skipper Raina to get a win against their name.
For Karnataka, their campaign this year has been led by the phenomenal bowling chemistry between Abhimanyu Mithun and skipper Vinay Kumar while Mayank Agarwal has led the way with the bat. Against a robust batting line-up, skipper Raina will depend on Saurabh Kumar, who has 23 scalps from 3 games to cause problems.
On the other hand, Delhi have been led fabulously well by skipper Ishant Sharma, who has 15 wickets from 3 matches while Manan Sharma has been in the thick of things with 16 from 4 games. On the batting front, Gautam Gambhir has been tough to stop but Maharashtra will hope Chirag Khurana weaves some magic on the day.
Assam, who will be hosting Hyderabad will hope to move up the table with a win but will have to counter the Hyderabad-sized threat as the Ambati Rayudu-led side will hope to carry forward the positives from their win against Railways.
List of Fixtures
Uttar Pradesh vs Karnataka at Green Park in Kanpur
Assam vs Hyderabad at the Barsapara Cricket Stadium in Guwahati
Delhi vs Maharashtra at the Palam A Stadium in Delhi.
Hosts Jammu and Kashmir, who will go head to head against Haryana for their last Group B game will hope for a perfect homecoming and a strong finish as they are already out of contention for a spot in the quarters. Haryana, on the other hand, will look to salvage some lost pride, having lost three of their four matches this season.
Down South, Jalaj Saxena will be keen to keep his purple patch going when Kerala hosts Saurashtra, which currently sits pretty at the top of the Group B table but will be dealt a blow with national stars Pujara and Jadeja missing out owing to the ongoing series between India and Srilanka.
Defending champions Gujarat, who will be high on confidence with three wins from four games will yet again hope leggie Piyush Chawla brings all his experience into play as they face Rajasthan, a team which has not played up to its full potential and is capable of springing up more than a few surprises.
List of Fixtures
Gujarat vs Rajasthan at the Lalabhai Contractor Stadium in Surat
Jammu and Kashmir vs Haryana at the Ch Bansi Lal Cricket Stadium in Rohtak
Kerala vs Saurashtra at the Greenfield International Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram.
Following four successive draws, Tamil Nadu will hope to get a win against their name but will have to be cautious against Madhya Pradesh, a team that boasts of a strong batting line-up.
With Murali Vijay and Ravichandran Ashwin having left the team for national duty, the onus will be on the youngsters to perform for TN and it remains to see if Madhya Pradesh can conjure up a win and jump to the top of the table.
41-time champions Mumbai will be bolstered by the return of Shreyas Iyer to the squad while teenage sensation Prithvi Shaw will be itching to get back to form when they face Andhra, who have been led by sensational knocks from Hanuma Vihari. While the duo of Vijay Gohil and Akash Parkar has enjoyed a good season, they will be up against Vihari and his team who are looking to consolidate their place at the top of the table.
In the other Group C clash, Baroda and Odisha will face off and with the two teams in a similar situation with one loss and three draws from four games. All eyes on the Pathan brothers as well as Atit Sheth, who has had a stellar season with both bat and ball this season while the onus will be on Biplab Samantray to stop Baroda from running away with the game.
List of Fixtures
Madhya Pradesh vs Tamil Nadu at the Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore
Baroda vs Odisha at the Reliance Stadium in Vadodara.
Andhra vs Mumbai at the CSR Sharma College Ground in Ongole.
In what will turn out to be a highly anticipated clash featuring Bengal and Punjab, the two teams will be gunning for a win that could possibly assure the victor a top-two finish. Punjab will be coming into the clash at the back of strong victories against Goa and Chattisgarh while Bengal, who will miss the services of Wriddhiman Saha and Mohammad Shami will hope their batting comes good against the strong Punjab bowling unit.
With just two points from four encounters, Services could well end up with the wooden spoon if they do not revive their fortunes as they square off against Chhattisgarh, who will look to register their first win at home and keep their hopes alive of a top-two finish, which could well be the case if they win against Services and other results go their way.
Finally, led by skipper Faiz Fazal, Vidarbha have enjoyed a fabulous season thus far and a win against Goa in their next encounter could see them earn a well-deserved place in the quarterfinals. The Vidarbha skipper, along with fellow opener Sanjay Ramaswamy average in the high 90s that could hold them in good stead against Goa, who will be playing for pride having failed to cash in on an opportunity to secure a win against Services that dented their chances of making it to the qualifiers.
List of Fixtures
Punjab vs Bengal at the Gandhi Sports Complex Ground in Amritsar.
Goa vs Vidarbha at the Goa Cricket Association Academy Ground in Porvorim.
Chhattisgarh vs Services at the Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh International Stadium, Raipur.