Ranji Trophy 2017-18: Kerala-Vidarbha Quarterfinal Delayed Due to Wet Outfield

India.com Sports Desk
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Ranji Trophy 2017-18: Kerala-Vidarbha Quarterfinal Delayed Due to Wet Outfield

Kerala, who took over 40 years to book their first-ever knockout berth, are aiming to seal a historic semifinal spot in the tournament.

New Delhi: Ranji Trophy quarterfinal between first-time entrants Kerala and Vidarbha which was scheduled to take place at 9:30 am IST on December 7 at the Lalabhai Contractor Stadium in Surat has been delayed due to wet outfield. The Gujarat City received heavy rain in past two days because of Cyclone Ockhi that wreaked havoc along the southern coastline of Kerala. The commencement timing of the match is still unknown.

Kerala, who took over 40 years to book their first-ever knockout berth, are aiming to seal a historic semifinal spot in the tournament. Sachin Baby led team produced a spirited performance against Saurashtra and Haryana in their last two games in the group stage. 

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It was Sanju Samson’s blistering 180-ball 175-run innings and some spectacular bowling by Jalaj S Saxena and S Joseph, which helped them outclass Saurashtra.

In the final match, Kerala notched up an innings and eight-run win over Haryana, riding on allrounder Jalaj’s four wickets and 91-run knock.

With 38 wickets in six matches and 482 runs in 11 innings, Jalaj has emerged as the most effective player for Kerala and skipper Sachin Baby would expect another good performance from the offspinning allrounder.

Vidarbha, on the other hand, have made the knockouts thrice, including two successive quarter-final appearances in 2014-15 and 2015-16.

However, the only time they reached the semifinals was in 2011-12 and Faiz Fazal’s men will look to put the best foot forward against Kerala to enter the last-four once again.

Vidarbha have relied on their batting might to bury their opponents. They have racked up 400-plus runs five times this season, riding on the performances of their top-order batsmen — Fazal, Sanjay Ramaswamy, Ganesh Satish and Wasim Jaffer.

In bowling, the return of leg-spinner Karn Sharma will provide a boost to Vidarbha’s spin department, which has been served by the troika of Akshay Wakhare (27 wickets), Aditya Sarwate (18) and Akshay Karnewar (16).

Kerala too have depended on their spinners with two new left-arm tweakers KC Akshay (13 wickets in 2 matches) and Sijomon Joseph (19 in four matches) making a big impact.

Teams:

Vidarbha: Faiz Fazal (capt), Ganesh Satish, Sanjay Ramaswamy, Wasim Jaffer, Karn Sharma, Shalabh Shrivastava, Apurva Wankhede, Akshay Wadkar (wk), Akshay Wakhare, Akshay Karnewar, Siddhesh Wath, Aditya Sarwate, Rajneesh Gurbani, Lalit Yadav, Siddhesh Neral, Shubham Kapare, Suniket Bingewar.

Kerela: Arun Karthik, KM Asif, M Nidheesh, Rohan Prem, Sachin Baby (capt), Sanju Samson (wk), Mohammad Azharuddeen, Jalaj Saxena, Sijomon Joseph, Fabid Farooq, Vishnu Vinod, Sandeep Warrier, Vinod Kumar, Rakesh Menon, Mazar Moidu, KC Akshay. (With PTI inputs)