Here is the preview of the first two quarterfinals in the Vijay Hazare trophy
Dhoni's men face Vidarbha test in Vijay Hazare quarterfinals
Mahendra Singh Dhoni will be the man in focus once again when he leads Jharkhand against Vidarbha in the Vijay Hazare Trophy quarterfinals at the Palam Ground in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Besides being Jharkhand's unofficial mentor in the Ranji Trophy, Dhoni has been an active member of the Vijay Hazare squad, captaining the side in all the six matches so far.
His participation in the tournament has expectedly attracted a sizeable crowed wherever Jharkhand has played and it is going to be no different here tomorrow.
It could well turn out to be his last competitive game in the 50-over format ahead of the Champions Trophy in June, a tournament seen as an important one for the former India captain, who now plays only as a wicket-keeper batsman in the national side.
Dhoni, who hit the winning runs in the previous against J and K at Kalyani, has displayed decent form in the tournament, highlighted with a 129 against Chattisgarh at the Eden Gardens last month.
Leading against a consistent Vidarbha unit will be a challenge for Dhoni.
While Jharkhand finished second in Group D with fours win and two losses, Vidarbha topped Group A with five victories in six games.
Dhoni has been the cynosure of all eyes but the performances of his teammates have not gone unnoticed.
Senior batsman Saurabh Tiwary, who captained the side in the successful Ranji Trophy campaign, has been the team's leading run scorer with 303 runs at a 60 plus average including two hundreds.
The star with the ball has again been left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem, who ended as the leading wicket-taker in the Ranji Trophy. The others who have contributed with the ball are Rahul Shukla and leading pacer Varun Aaron.
For Vidarbha, the batsmen that stood out are opener Jitesh Sharma, who has accumulated 291 runs at 48.50, and Ganesh Satish, who has collected 259 runs at 51.80.
Captain Faiz Fazal would want to be back among the runs in the all important quarterfinal, having fallen cheaply in his last three innings.
Most impressive with the ball has been left-arm spinner Akshay Karnewar, who snared 15 wickets in the league stage at 13.20.
It's in-form Kedar vs upbeat Bengal in Hazare quarters
Kedar Jadhav's blazing blade will be the biggest cause of concern for a confident Bengal side that will take on Maharashtra in the quarter-final of the Vijay Hazare Trophy.
India's ODI specialist Jadhav has been in fantastic form since England series and no wonder Bengal captain Manoj Tiwary has plans in place for the pint-sized Maharashtra captain.
"Kedar is a proven match-winner and no doubt the most dangerous batsman in the opposition ranks. The key will be to get him out when the pacers are in operation. He is a bit fidgety at the start of his innings and the idea will be to cash in on that," Tiwary told PTI on eve of the match.
A champion player of spin bowling, Jadhav has so far scored 331 runs at a strike-rate of 143, which includes a 64-ball-113 against Delhi.
His innings had eight sixes and such was the ferocity of the knock, it prompted Delhi management to send IPL millionaire Pawan Negi on the first flight back home.
"We are playing five specialist bowlers and I have told my spinners Pragyan (Ojha) and Amir (Gani) that please check the length while bowling to Kedar. Don't give deliveries to sweep.
"He plays the conventional and reverse sweep well. We can't allow Kedar to get away. Also they have a young boy Rituraj Gaikwad, who has scored 400 runs (401 runs). Ankit has had a bad tourney but can change the game on its head," Tiwary said.
For Bengal, the group league went off well as they lost only one of their six games. Abhimanyu Easwaran, who has recently made it to the India U-23 side for ACC Emerging Trophy has scored 364 runs while skipper Tiwary is next best with 231 runs.
Bengal's playing XI is more or less fixed with Easwaran and Shreevats Goswami opening the innings. The dependable Sudeep Chatterjee will be at No 3, with the skipper coming in at No 4. Veteran Anushtup Majumdar will be playing at No 5 while Agniv Pan is the skipper's choice at No 6 ahead of Abhishek Raman for his "cheeky strokes and ability to innovate".
The three pacers will be Kanishk Seth, who has now 10 wickets in his kitty, KKR's newest recruit Sayan Ghosh and leader of the pack attack, Ashok Dinda.
Published Date: Mar 14, 2017 11:01 pm | Updated Date: Mar 14, 2017 11:01 pm