Assam, Maharashtra, Saurashtra and Karnataka have booked the bottom four spots in the current Vijay Hazare Trophy and the four teams will battle it out for a spot in the final of India’s premier tournament. After a tough quarter-final, the teams will now be looking to give their all in the semi-final match to be played in Ahmedabad on Wednesday.
Joining the ever-consistent Karnataka and Saurashtra are hungry underdogs Assam and Maharashtra, who have scored heavily this season and managed to score in excess of 300 on five occasions.
The last time Assam reached the final of this tournament was in the 2012-13 season when they lost to Delhi in the title struggle. On the other hand, Maharashtra is looking to enter its first ever final. Karnataka is the second most successful team in the history of the competition with four titles and Saurashtra has won the title once. There are two mouth-watering competitions in store as this year’s four most successful teams prepare to give it all for a place in the final.
Absolutely Phenomenal Karnataka: Team Karnataka, at least on paper, is looking absolutely formidable as they have the services of Mayank Agarwal, Manish Pandey, R Samarth, Shreyas Gopal, and K. Gautham. All of these have been part of the Indian squad and have plenty of experience on their side in these knockout matches. With the bat Nikkin Jose and R Samarth were very consistent and the inexperienced bowling attack consisting of V Kousik and V Kaverappa and the leadership of Ronit More did a very effective job.
Gaikwad while singing, Maharashtra: Ruturaj Gaikwad’s quarter-final double-hundred against a very strong attack from UP was the perfect dose of caution and aggression. While the right-hander was very watchful when there was something in him for the bowlers, he got a life when he fell close to fifty but exploded, and how, in the second half of an innings that also saw him collect 43 runs from his 49 overs. Along with Gaikwad, in-form Rahul Tripathi and Ankit Pawnee have done the bulk of the scoring for Maharashtra this season. The team has posted well over 300 five times this season and has the ability to bowl to match their batting power. Mukesh Chowdhury with the new ball and Rajvardhan Hangrekar in the middle have been very effective for them and will look to repeat the training against Assam on Wednesday.
Consistent proverb: Assam and Ryan Parag were a story of heroism. They led the group stages of the tournament as they convincingly beat the likes of Karnataka, Vidarbha and Delhi and outlasted Jammu & Kashmir in the high scoring quarter-finals. Chasing 350, Assam, who was riding high on Parag’s 116-ball 174, overhauled the target with 23 balls to spare. With both bat and ball, Parag (537 runs and 9 wickets) was the star of Assam and he was supported by the likes of Sibsankar Roy (289 runs in seven innings), Rishav Das (213 runs in four innings) and Avinov Chowdhury (13 wickets). ) and Mukhtar Hussain (11 wickets).
Effective Saurashtra Unity Year after year, season after season, tournament after tournament, Saurashtra continues to make its way to the knockout stages of domestic competitions. Samarth Vyas (398 runs) and Harvik Desai (390 runs) did the job with the bat and the bowling unit showed plenty of consistency. Led by J Unadkat again among the wickets (14) he was ably supported by D Jadeja (15 wickets), Chetan Sakariya (12 wickets), and Parth Bhut (10 wickets). Vyas was the discovery of the season for the Saurashtra unit as the right-handed bowler in a fast clip straight from the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy scoring 314 runs in seven innings at a strike rate of 177.40.
* Karnataka’s V Koushik (17 wickets) and V Kaverappa (16 wickets) have a chance to overtake Kuldeep Sen (18 wickets) in the list of leading wicket-takers
* While N Jagadeesan (830 pts) is a fair distance away, Ryan Parag (537 pts) and Rahul Tripathi (521 pts) stand a fair chance of finishing second, held by Sai Sudarshan (610 pts) in the main race-highs list
* All three hundreds came from Ryan Barrage’s List A this season
* D Jadeja’s 7/10 continues to be the best bowler in the tournament this season
Maharashtra vs Assam
Saurashtra vs Karnataka