Here is the preview of the Ranji Trophy quarterfinal.
Mumbai take on Hyderabad in Ranji quarters
Raipur: Forced to ring in changes to their squad owing to injuries and poor form, Mumbai will hope to get the act right when they take on Hyderabad in their Ranji Trophy quarterfinal starting in Raipur on Thursday.
The team with by far the best record in first-class cricket, Mumbai has rarely fielded a team as inexperienced as the ones that trained at the Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh Stadium today.
While Eknath Kerkar remains the only member of the squad yet to earn a Ranji cap, seven others – Praful Waghela, Kevin Almeida, Vijay Gohil, Akshay Girap, Royston Dias, Sufiyan Shaikh and Tushar Deshpande – have a combined tally of 23 matches.
Against a rejuvenated Hyderabad, the reigning champions will be without the services of opener Akhil Herwadkar, lower order batsman Shubham Ranjane and pace bowler Dhawal Kulkarni - all of who are out due to injuries.
The Mumbai selectors have brought in Almeida, who scored a triple hundred in a local tournament, and another in-form batsman Eknath Kerkar into the 15-strong squad while recalling off-spinner Akshay Girap.
If their exceptional records are anything to go by, Mumbai can never be taaken for granted, and rival skipper S Badrinath knows it too well.
But still, the Hyderabad skipper will fancy his chances when his side takes on the 41-time Ranji champions, putting aside past records.
While Mumbai still have a few players such as captain Aditya Tare, Abhishek Nayar, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav and Shardul Thakur to make an impact, Hyderabad will be giving their best shot.
To look out for from the Hyderabad team would be M Ravi Kiran, their highest wickettaker, and he would look to fire again when he comes up against the formidable Mumbai batting line-up.
The medium pacer has so far picked up 33 wickets at an average of 18.21 this season.
Weak TN attack face Karun-Rahul 'Test' in Ranji quarter-final
Visakhapatnam: Fresh from their exploits in the final Test versus England, India's new batting stars Karun Nair and KL Rahul will be aiming to send an inexperienced Tamil Nadu attack sans world's leading off-spinner R Ashwin on a leatherhunt in a Ranji Trophy quarter-final on Thursday.
The absence of Ashwin and Murali Vijay against a full Karnataka side will defibitely hurt Tamil Nadu. Ashwin is taking rest as he is suffering from sports hernia after a stellar all-round performance through the year earned him ICC's 'Cricketer of the Year' award.
Vijay is out with a shoulder injury sustained while fielding during Chennai Test.
With the distinction of being India's second triple centurion, Karun's presence can be intimidating for a pace attack with a combined experience of 35 first-class matches.
Pacer Krishnamoorthy Vignesh has 32 wickets in his first season but bowling with a new ball against Rahul, who has just scored 199 in a Test match will not be the easiest of assignments.
He will be assisted by Anthony Aswin Crist, who has 27 wickets to his name and is the 'senior-most' in this attack with T Natarajan completing the set-up.
It's not only about Nair and Rahul, who are India internationals but Karnataka has been a formidable domestic unit in recent years winning Ranji Trophy twice.
With Robin Uthappa already dropped from the side, it still bears a menacing look with Manish Pandey at their disposal. Even though Pandey in his three first-class games has scored only 188 runs with 75 being his highest score.
But opener Ravikumar Samarth with 681 runs and India discard Stuart Binny with 471 runs have been consistent throughout the season.
Karnataka's bowling has depended over the years on their mercurial skipper R Vinay Kumar, who has again topped the team's wickettakers' list with 27 wickets along with rookie off-spinner Krishnappa Gowtham.
Left-arm seamer Srinath Aravind is not far behind with 26 wickets while leg-spinner Shreyash Gopal has 21 wickets. Not to forget the 296 runs that Gopal has contributed with the bat down the order.
This attack will test the skills of young opener Kaushik Gandhi (709 runs) and veteran Dinesh Karthik (592 runs) as they would have to deal with Vinay and Co in absence of a solid opener and a proven performer like Vijay.
All eyes on Priyank Panchal ahead of Gujarat-Odisha quarters
Jaipur: He has already amassed more than 1000 runs this season and the focus will be firmly on Priyank Panchal when Gujarat lock horns with Odisha in their Ranji Trophy quarterfinal cricket match starting in Jaipur on Thursday.
Gujarat will be boosted by the return of Parthiv Patel from national duty against a team that is playing in the knockout stage of the tournament for the first time since 2001.
Called as reinforcement for the injured Wriddhiman Saha, Patel did his bit as the Indian cricket team thrashed England 4-0 in the five-match Test series, and the experienced wicketkeeper-batsman would definitely take a lot of confidence out of that stint.
Gujarat will also look up to 26-year-old Panchal who has scored runs in abundance. Priyank has smashed four centuries, including a triple hundred against Punjab and a double against Mumbai, and another big one could be on the cards, at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium.
The pitch has been helping the batsmen of late, but the early morning moisture this time of the year will also offer the pacers assistance.
Gujarat batsman Manpreet Juneja felt that his team was equipped enough to tackle the conditions.
Gujarat will look to off-spinner Rush Kalaria and left-arm spinner Axar Patel for breakthroughs when the pitch starts to turn.
The pace department will be taken care of by Jasprit Bumrah, who is also in India's limited overs scheme of things, and veteran left-arm seamer RP Singh.
The Odisha team finished third in its group with two wins and five draws, collecting enough points to make the next grade.
Odisha sneaked into quarterfinals after Delhi lost a thrilling game to Saurashtra.
Like in the 2001-02 season, the current Odisha team is being driven by all-round contributions, especially from its youngsters.
Govinda Poddar, who is leading the side for the first time in first-class arena, is upbeat with the results achieved so far, and is pumped up ahead of its biggest match in recent times.
Jayant-less Haryana face Dhoni-mentored Jharkhand
Vadodara: They are not cricket's traditional powerhouses, but a Jharkhand team mentored by none other than Mahendra Singh Dhoni, is ready to take on a gutsy Haryana side that will miss the services of new star Jayant Yadav.
While Dhoni may not be donning the whites again but in spirit he will be present at the Moti Bagh ground when India hopeful Ishan Kishan wears the big gloves or lines up to hit those big sixes.
Dhoni, it is learnt, has taken personal interest in Ishan Kishan's progress. The former India U-19 captain has scored 633 runs but, more importantly, has hit 27 sixes and 67 fours -- something that has been noticed by one and all. His innings of 273 is being talked about.
Ditto for Kaushal Singh, an all-rounder with 360 runs and six wickets, and who has also grown up playing a lot of night tennis ball tourneys, like Dhoni in his formative years.
The presence of Ishank Jaggi (675 runs with 3 tons) and much leaner Saurabh Tiwary (514 runs) also gives Jharkhand a balanced look despite their regular captain Varun Aaron being available for only two games.
For Haryana, wily Amit Mishra will be turning up in what will be his biggest game for the state side under the leadership of Mohit Sharma.
The season has got better for Haryana with every match and so pleased has been their top boss Aniruddh Chaudhary that he has promised an iPhone 7 to all players for making it to the last eight. They are expected to be given their new gadget once the tournament gets over.
"Mohit has led the side wonderfully and he will continue to lead. We are happy to have Amit playing the quarter-final but Jayant has not yet recovered. So unfortunately we will miss him," BCCI treasurer and Haryana Cricket Association supremo Aniruddh Chaudhary told PTI today.
Just like Dhoni has been mentoring the Jharkhand side throughout the season, Chaudhary wanted Virender Sehwag to have a pep talk, but decided against it.
"I will be going for a day and just tell the boys to give their best. In fact, when they bat, I am a bit superstitious and I don't watch the match. Only when Haryana bowls, I watch," Chaudhary said.
It has been a great team performance from Haryana with their wicketkeeper-batsman Nitin Saini scoring 926 runs with four tons. Rajat Paliwal's shift from Services to Haryana has proved to be a good move as he has collected 532 runs, apart from three wickets, while 18-year-old Shubham Rohilla has been another stand-out performer with 622 runs.
Among the bowlers, seasoned Mohit, with 27 wickets, and the wiry Yuzvendra Chahal, with 28 wickets, have been the primary performers. Not to forget medium pacer Sanjay Pahal, who has 25 wickets to his name.
Even Mishra, who played one match in between national duty, got seven wickets.
Incidentally, this will be the first domestic match of the season to be aired live.
Updated Date: Dec 22, 2016 22:46:03 IST