The best of the domestic talents will be in action during the Ranji Trophy quarterfinals. There will be an increased interested as a few of the international stars are expected to take part in the event.
Let us look at some of the stars to watch out for during the quarterfinal clash to be played from Jan. 8 to 12.
Bengal v Railways at Kolkata
Surprisingly, both Bengal and Railways have made it to the semifinals without any player being a stand out performer. Railways’ pacer Anureet Singh may beg to differ as he is sixth in the bowlers’ list with impressive 35 wickets, while Ashok Dinda is the leading wicket-taker for Bengal with 29 wickets.
The player to watch out in the tie will be Dinda, who will have to perform well if he has to keep his national recall hopes alive. As far as batting is considered, both teams have struggled and none of the Railways batsman have scored more than 480 runs. So this means the team that bats better is likely to make it to quarters.
Karnataka v U. Pradesh at Bangalore
Karnataka have been the most consistent team this season winning as many as five out of eight matches this season and Uttar Pradesh will surely be worried about batsmen K.L. Rahul (777 runs) and Manish Pandey (594). With plenty of support from the lower order and support from HS Sharath (31 wickets) and A. Mithun (29) they are the players to watch out for.
On the other hand, UP have relied heavily on their bowlers and a lot will depend on Imtiaz Ahmed (25 wickets) and experience of RP Singh (21) to crush the Karnataka batting.
Mumbai v Maharashtra at Mumbai
Mumbai after barely scrapping into quarters were expecting to be strengthened by the return of Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma, until BCCI said no. If Mumbai have to win then it had to be these guys who have to guide them, now the burden will be on Zaheer Khan . Left-arm spinner Vinay Dhabolkar has bagged 38 wickets and with the return of batting duo they are a different outfit.
Maharashtra meanwhile boasts of two top run-getter this season Harshad Khadiwale (930 runs) and Kedar Jadhav (863) have been in fine touch and can cause problems to Mumbai attack that lacks sting. If Maharashtra are hoping for an upset, it is these guys who can lead from the front.
Punjab v J & K at Vadodara
This is the only match that is being played at a neutral venue and it will be an interesting one. Jammu & Kashmir have nothing to lose, while a young Punjab squad have rode on Jiwanjot Singh (698 runs), Mandeep Singh (492) and Sandeep Singh’s 30 wickets.
The team was selected of trials and they have created history entering quarters for the first time. Skipper Pervez Rasool has once again proved his credentials with 550 runs and 21 wickets. Such has been their team performance that as many as four bowlers have picked more than twenty wickets and have the ability to continue with their fairytale.